Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called for early elections on Wednesday, claiming that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government had no public support.
"We need to hold elections. Most of the public feels a loss of confidence in the government, and now the time has come for justice," the Likud leader said.
"The government failed in the war and the people want a new leadership," he added, referring to the mishandling of last summer's war with Hizbullah.
Netanyahu accused Olmert of obstructing a state comptroller investigation into the handling of the home front by the army and the government during the war.
"How can the government draw lessons if it is refusing to hear about them? We need to change this government," he told reporters in the Knesset.
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss this week accused the prime minister of failing to cooperate with his inquiry into the government's handling of northern communities during the war.
Netanyahu added that the deterioration in relations between Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz was a clear indication that the coalition's days were numbered.
A cabinet meeting was postponed on Tuesday when Olmert and Peretz rowed over unpaid wages to local council workers.
Both leaders denied media reports that their relations had reached a new low.
"The prime minister and Peretz are symbols of the failures of the sinking ship … The ship never sailed anywhere and it is turning around itself in stormy waters," said Netanyahu.
The former prime minister revealed that a number of former Likud members who defected to Kadima have expressed interest in returning to the party he leads.
"I am being approached by former Likud members in Kadima, but I can not reveal their identity," he said.