Israel to hold early election, in April: Netanyahu spokesman

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smiles during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Dec 23, 2018.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smiles during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Dec 23, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - Israel will hold a general election in April, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter on Monday (Dec 24), after a meeting between members of his governing coalition.

"The leaders of the coalition decided unanimously to dissolve parliament and go to a new election in early April," the spokesman said, quoting from a statement issued by Netanyahu's political partners.

A coalition crisis over a military conscription bill affecting exemptions from compulsory service for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men led to the decision.

Netanyahu, now in his fourth term as prime minister, has been governing with a razor-thin majority of 61 seats in the 120-member parliament. He heads the right-wing Likud party.

Under Israeli law, a national election had to be held by November 2019.