Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu announced Tuesday evening that general elections will be held in early 2013.

A date was not specified, though the prime minister said the elections would take place “as soon as possible” – possibly as early as mid-January.

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The Prime Minister touted his government as an achiever in the arenas of security and economy, and “one of the most stable in decades”, having marked almost four years in office.  But many goals, such as obstructing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, protecting Israel’s borders to the north and south east, and continuing negotiations with the Palestinians, remain still unfinished, he said.

The Prime Minister also expressed the nation’s concern for the residents of southern Israel, who experienced renewed rocket fire from Gaza in the last days.

Due to the election schedule, Netanyahu will not have to pass a 2013 budget before the vote.

Analysts say reelection would give Netanyahu a mandate to pursue a more aggressive policy toward Iran.  They also say the move may have been made in order to catch opponents off guard.

Opinion polls indicate that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party would gain even more than its current 27 seats, with Labor also rising.  Kadima, says the polls, would plummet.

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