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Israel announces election date

  • Israel's parliament has voted to dissolve itself and hold an early general election on January 22.

    The unanimous vote came after a debate that lasted more than eight hours.

    Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to bring the date forward because a stalemate among his coalition partners had made it impossible to pass a "responsible budget" for 2013.

    "In less than 100 days the people of Israel will decide who will lead them in the face of the greatest security challenges which we have known since the founding of the state; who will lead them in the face of the toughest economic crisis the world has known in the past 80 years," Netanyahu told the 120-member Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

    Opinion polls suggest Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition government, which has been in power since 2009, will win the election.