Netanyahu Bloc Wants September 4 Electionإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling coalition has tabled a motion to dissolve parliament and call an early general election on September 4, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.
They said the motion from the coalition's parliamentary chairman, Zeev Elkin, would be debated by the Knesset at the start of next week.
Public radio quoted MP Gideon Saar, like Elkin from Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, as saying that 61 members of the 120-seat house favored that date.
News website Ynet said that the opposition preferred September 16.
Army radio said the bill to dissolve the Knesset was likely to get a preliminary reading on Monday and probably be passed into law by Wednesday.
Netanyahu himself has so far not confirmed publicly he intends to bring forward the election from its scheduled date of October 2013, but he is widely expected to announce the date at a Likud convention on Sunday.
Riding high in popularity polls, the premier is said to favor early elections in a bid to strengthen his position before a potential fight over austerity measures and U.S. elections in November.
Commentators said there were plenty of reasons for Netanyahu to favor bringing the vote forward, including the desire to consolidate his position before having to implement budget cuts later this year.
He is also looking to bolster domestic support before U.S. elections in November, which could return U.S. President Barack Obama to office.
Netanyahu has differed with Obama on issues ranging from the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Iran's nuclear program.
Another key reason for bringing the vote forward is a dispute over the issue of drafting Orthodox Jews into the army, which has threatened the stability of Netanyahu's coalition.
The so-called Tal Law, which allowed ultra-Orthodox Jews to defer their service in the Israeli military, is strongly opposed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's staunchly secular Yisrael Beitenu party.
Netanyahu has pledged to replace the law, which expires this year, with a more "egalitarian" rule, but is caught between Yisrael Beitenu and the ultra-Orthodox factions in his coalition, who adamantly oppose military service.
The Knesset is expected to debate a replacement law on May 9.
Whenever the elections are held, polls have consistently showed Netanyahu and his Likud party coming out on top, with no credible rival to the prime minister.
A poll published by the Yediot Aharonot newspaper on Monday showed Likud increasing its strength from 27 to 30 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, if elections were held today.
The Labor party stands to make the biggest relative gain, winning 18 seats, from the nine it currently holds, while Yisrael Beitenu would lose two seats, leaving it with 13, the poll showed.
The main opposition Kadima party is expected to suffer crushing losses, with its standing reduced from 28 seats to 11, while the newly formed Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party would win 11 seats, the poll found.