Israel moves to early election

Jerusalem, Oct 27 (DPA) Israel’s ruling Kadima party submitted a bill Monday to dissolve parliament and hold elections within three months, a day after party leader Tzipi Livni announced she was giving up efforts to form a new government.

Livni was tasked on Sep 22 by President Shimon Peres with forming a new government to replace that of Ehud Olmert, who has resigned following allegations of corruption.

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The 50-year-old foreign minister, who was chosen to replace Olmert as the head of Kadima in Sep 17 primaries, decided to recommend early elections after the ultra-Orthodox Shas party decided against joining her government.

Kadima caucus leader Yoel Hasson submitted the Knesset dispersal bill to the parliament secretariat. A vote on it was yet to be scheduled. The Knesset was holding its first session Monday after its summer recess.

Under Israeli law, the Knesset can be dissolved either by a bill, or by an announcement by the president to parliament’s speaker that his nomimee was unable to form a government.

Technically, early elections can be called either way. It was not immediately clear whether the elections in Israel will be called through the bill or through an announcement by Peres.

Either way, elections are expected before March, most probably in February but possibly even earlier, a year ahead of schedule.

Peres began marathon consultations with all Knesset factions Sunday evening. Granting up to 20 minutes to each, he was scheduled to complete them before noon Monday.

He could announce his decision to send the country into general elections in an address to the opening of the Knesset winter session later Monday.