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Cabel. Against special legislation
Photo: Michael Kramer
Sa'ar. As early as possible
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Itzik. Responsibility
Photo: Yaron Brener
Knesset debates election date
Following president's decision to call elections, parliament speaker to hold special discussion with faction heads in bid to reach agreement on date. 'Most MKs are not interested in elections, they're all looking for excuses,' says senior political source
When will Israel's citizens cast their ballots? A day after President Shimon Peres officially informed Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik that there is no possibility to form a new coalition under the current conditions, Itzik will be holding a special discussion Tuesday with heads of all the Israeli parliament's factions in a bid to reach an agreement on the election date.

 

Following Peres' announcement, the leading option at the moment is to hold the elections at the date determined by law – February 10. Another possibility being examined by the different factions is to dissolve the Knesset through legislation in order to hold the elections at a closer date: The end of January or the beginning of February.

 

There are some politicians, however, who have estimate that those who will eventually vote in favor of a bill to dissolve the Knesset will do it in order to delay the elections as much as possible and have them take place even after February 10.

 

A number of sources in the Knesset, including several senior officials, have raised the possibility that the elections may even be held in March.


 

Knesset speaker with president (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)

 

Kadima still weighing options

"Most Knesset members are not interested in election," said a senior political source. "They're all looking for as many excuses as possible. Apart from (Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi) Livni, who is interested in elections as soon as possible, most of the Knesset factions would like to see them not so close to the municipal elections."

 

At the moment, it appears several days will be needed before the election date is finally declared.

 

And what do the three largest parties have to day about this issue? Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel told Ynet that his party would likely prefer the elections to be held without any special legislation, on February 10.

 

Likud faction chairman, Knesset Member Gideon Sa'ar, said that "the Likud is in favor of holding elections as early as possible."

 

According to Cabel, "At the moment, in light of the president's announcement, the election date will be set for February 10. We must beware attempts to delay the elections for different reasons and by diverse elements, which may stem from a legislative move."

 

Kadima has yet to decide which stance to present in their meeting with Itzik. Kadima faction chairman, MK Yosel Hasson, said, "We are weighing different options. Our main goal is to hold elections as soon as possible. Now we'll see all those who cried, 'Elections, elections,' standing behind their calls."

 

Knesset speaker to prevent private lawmaking

Simultaneously, faction heads will also try to agree on the Knesset's method of work in the time left until the election break. In addition, they will have to reach an agreement on the starting date for the election break, which will be derived from the election date.

 

One option is to start the break next Wednesday. A final decision has yet to be made. When this decision is reached, Knesset Speaker Itzik will have to recommend the date to the Knesset's House committee, and it members will be asked to approve it.

 

Sources close to the Knesset speaker said that Itzik would try and prevent any private lawmaking until the election break. According to one of the associates, "There is a need to be responsible at a time of elections as well, particularly in light of the global financial crisis."

 

Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report

 

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