Israel PM Netanyahu begins re-election bid
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday kicked off his re-election bid after calling snap polls that he is tipped to win, presenting himself as the only hope of facing Iran and the world economic crisis.
Following his announcement late on Tuesday that the election was to be brought forward, Mr Netanyahu fired the unofficial starting gun to a campaign expected to see Israelis go to the polls in January or February.
Although he did not give a date for the election, commentators said it was likely to take place between January 22 and February 12, with a date to be determined next week when parliament reconvenes for its winter session.
Mr Netanyahu said he took the decision to bring forward the date after his coalition partners failed to agree on the 2013 state budget, an austerity budget which is expected to spark public anger.