Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he may call an early election, following discussions with leaders of his coalition parties.
“This government has been successful for three years because of its unity and continuity,” Netanyahu said.
Elections in Israel must be held a minimum of 94 days after their declaration, according to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, suggesting the next poll may convene in September or October.
(The next parliamentary election is not officially scheduled until October 2013).
While Iran’s nuclear threat remains the paramount concern for Netanyahu, he also faces some internal issues. Among other topics, the Prime Minister wants to address the so-called ‘Tal Law,’ which excludes certain segments of Israel society, including ultra-Orthodox Jews, from serving in the Israeli military.
Netanyahu wants to overhaul the law in order to make military service mandatory for all, even requiring some sort of national service for Israeli Arabs.
Some ultra-Orthodox members of Netanyahu’s coalition have vowed to fight changes in the law.
Reuven Rivlin, speaker of the Knesset (Parliament), said this law will be a major subject of debate since it is due to expire in August.
“The Tal Law has to do with all sectors in society, and there are severe disagreements on the issue,” Rivlin said. “My estimation is that the prime minister will prefer to make decisions after elections.”
Meanwhile, early polls indicate that if an election were held today, Netanyahu would win, suggesting his hawkish tone on Iran may enjoy significant support among the Israeli public.
The Yedioth Ahronoth daily paper showed that Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party would see its representation in parliament increase to 30 (out of a total of 120 seats) from the current level of 27.
One of Netanyahu’s principal coalition partners, the Yisreal Beiteinu party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, would lose two seats in parliament, down to 13 from 15.
The largest opposition party, the centrist Kadima, would see its membership in parliament plunge from 28 to 11. However, the Labour Party would see its strength more than double from 8 seats to 18, making it the second largest party in the Knesset.
Separately, Netanyahu’s father Benzion Netanyahu, died Monday morning in Jerusalem home at the age of 102.