Global

Israeli government calls for elections in early April

Israeli government calls for elections in early April

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, struggling to keep his majority together and fighting off corruption allegations, has chose to dramatically shorten the timetable for his country's elections.

Netanyahu's government would remain in place until a new one is sworn in, after the April poll. "And hence, deposing him from the prime minister's position would be undemocratic".

The 69-year-old Israeli leader made no immediate comment after his meeting with the coalition leaders.

In this November 18, 2018 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in Tel Aviv, Israel. Those bright prospects, however, could be derailed by a looming decision by the country's attorney general on whether to file charges against Netanyahu.

Channel 10 reported last week that the state prosecutor's office believes there's enough evidence to indict Netanyahu in at least one of the three corruption cases in which police have recommended he be charged.

The bill is controversial because ultra-Orthodox parties view conscription as taboo, fearing serving in the military will lead to immersion in secularism.

The justice ministry announced on Wednesday that deliberations were continuing and were "not dependent on political events".

"We can not continue like this" said coalition chair David Amsalem, according to Haaretz.

More news: Four men detained as police secure cargo ship after ‘stowaways threaten crew’

Netanyahu, who also served a term in the late 1990s, has been prime minister for the past decade.

Holding elections while the possibility of criminal charges hang over Mr Netanyahu will allow him to claim the Israeli public voted for him with full knowledge of the allegations, Ms Tsurkov said.

Erdogan's spokesman and chief advisor Ibrahim Kalin lambasted Netanyahu, who he said "should end the lawless occupation of Palestinian lands and the brutal oppression of Palestinian people" instead of "begging President Erdogan not to speak out the truth".

Reuven Hazan, a political scientist at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, said he doesn't expect the attorney general to make a final decision in the coming months and Netanyahu's move seems to be trying to "pre-empt" a potential indictment by getting re-elected first. The Prime Minister has convinced his base that he's the victim of a political witchhunt conducted by leftists and the media to topple his conservative government.

Netanyahu has been governing with a majority of a single seat in parliament since November when Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman quit the government. "You can not overturn the results of a democratic election".

Netanyahu, now in his fourth term as prime minister, has been governing with a slim majority of 61 seats in the 120-member parliament. "I don't think any party that says no will be part of the coalition".

Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Yesh Atid party and Netanyahu's main challenger, clearly announced that his faction would not back the contentious legislation, calling any compromise "a payoff to draft dodgers".