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      Coalition Chairman Files Bill to Dissolve Knesset

      Zeev Elkin of the Likud pulled the trigger on early elections and filed a motion to dissolve the Knesset. Votes expected soon.
      By Gabe Kahn
      First Publish: 5/2/2012, 7:18 PM

      MK Ze'ev Elkin
      MK Ze'ev Elkin
      Flash 90

      Coalition chairman Zeev Elkin (Likud) on Tuesday submitted a bill to dissolve the Knesset and hold early elections on September 4.

      The move comes earlier than expected, as senior sources in the Likud had reported Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would officially announce the move for new elections at a Sunday faction meeting.

      Likud, polling far ahead of any other party, wants the elections held with relative alacrity. The Yisrael Beiteinu, Labor, and Shas parties all agree on the date.

      However, newly chosen Kadima leader, Shaul Mofaz, tried to postpone the date to October 16 in the hopes of stanching the hemorrhage of voters the party is experiencing.

      Elkin's bill is expected to be rapidly advanced to the Knesset House Committee for approval before being returned to the plenum for second and third readings.

      If an absolute majority of Knesset members (61) would support the proposal, the Knesset will be dissolved and an election recess will be taken.

      According to polls taken Monday, the Likud, under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, would receive 31 seats if elections were held today, four more than now, and would form the next coalition government

      As previous polls showed, Kadima would collapse, from its current 28 seats to 10.

      The Dahaf poll gives Labor, headed by Knesset Member Shelly Yechimovich, 17 seats, followed by Yisrael Beiteinu with 13 seats, two less than now.

      Labor had 13 seats in the current Knesset until Barak pulled out last year, bringing with him four other Knesset Members and leaving Labor with 8 MKs. Barak's Independence party has previously failed to poll well enough to be seated should elections be held.

      On Tuesday, however, Barak's faction said a recent poll had shown them with 3 mandates and that they expected to build on that number before the election.

      Yair Lapid’s new Future party would be the fourth largest, according to the Dahaf poll, with 12 seats.

      Shas would drop from 11 Knesset Members to eight, but pre-election polls usually underestimate its strength.

      United Torah Judaism would remain with six MKs, and Meretz would gain one and win four seats. The National Union party is projected to retain four MKs while the Jewish Home party would drop one seat to the required minimum of two, but they are proclaiming a merger which is expected to increase their number of Knesset seats..

      The three predominantly Arab parties would gain one MK, reaching 11.