28 August 12 18:25–Within the next two weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to decide whether to convene the cabinet to pass an austerity budget for 2013 or to call for early elections. In the coming days, he is due to meet the Shas and Yisrael Beitenu party leaders to examine the chances of passing the budget with a broad enough coalition to make decisions. He will tell his coalition partners that they must support the budget throughout the process, in both the cabinet and in the Knesset, despite the austerity measures that will hurt their constituencies, without dissent. The parties will be required to decide whether they can live with the budget cuts, or if they prefer early elections.
Top political sources believe that a decision will be made within the next two weeks, and, at the latest, by Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) on September 16. If Netanyahu concludes from his talks with the Shas and Yisrael Beitenu party leaders that there is no broad support for the budget, and that it will not have a Knesset majority, he will prefer not to hold a cabinet discussion on the budget, and will disperse the Knesset in mid-October, so that elections can be held in early February 2013.
Top political sources believe that if Netanyahu sees that passing the budget in the Knesset will involve political struggles, horse-trading, and alliances, he will prefer not to try at all, to avoid risking a no vote in the Knesset.
However, if Netanyahu can reach a deal with Shas chairman Minister of and Interior Eli Yishai and with Yisrael Beitenu chairman and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman, for their parties’ support of the budget in the Knesset without a fight, Netanyahu will submit the budget to the cabinet and then to the Knesset. Under this scenario, elections will be held on schedule in October 2013.
It is unclear at this point what Netanyahu personally wants. Political sources say that if Netanyahu decides that he wants to pass the budget and not go for early elections, it will be possible to reach deals with Shas and Yisrael Beitenu. But distrust between Netanyahu and Liberman will make it hard for Netanyahu to trust Liberman’s promises…Read More>>