Netanyahu Has Edge if Israel Holds Early Vote

AP Reports: Israeli elections generally come down to a race between a conservative bloc  —  led by Netanyahu’s Likud Party and backed by religious parties  —  against a  more dovish bloc. The story of this election could turn out to be the divisions  in the opposition center-left bloc, where three different parties  —  two of  them led by former journalists  —  plausibly contend for the top position.

“The left doesn’t have a leader  —  that’s the problem,” said political  analyst Hanan Kristal. “They don’t have anyone that can go up against”  Netanyahu.

The prime minister unleashed the furor by leaking to media on Sunday that he  was considering early elections even though his term can last through late 2013.  It quickly became apparent that his hand is being forced by serious  disagreements between secular and religious coalition partners over the proposed  drafting of Jewish seminary students.

The official side of the process was then suspended Monday morning by the  death of Netanyahu’s 102-year-old father Ben-Zion, ushering in a weeklong  mourning period for the premier.

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