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News

Israel votes to dissolve parliament

Last week Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu called for early elections in Israel. Now, parliament has responded by dissolving the House and setting January 22 as the election date - nine months ahead of schedule.

In a speech opening the winter session of parliament on Monday, Netanyahu formally asked for parliament's approval to move the election to the new date in January.

The government-sponsored bill to dissolve the Knesset and move the elections forward passed without any abstentions or opposing votes early on Tuesday morning.

Netanyahu used the opportunity to outline his case for continuing to serve as Israel's prime minister, saying his tough stance on Iran's nuclear program was reason enough to keep him in office.

"Anyone who underestimates the threat that a nuclear Iran poses to Israel is not worthy to be prime minister even one day," he said. "We now have capabilities to operate against Iran that we did not have in the past."

Netanyahu's Likud party is expected to win January's election easily.

He had called for the early election after difficulties arose with coalition partners on agreeing to a 2013 budget, which included some austerity measures.

mz/av (dpa, AFP, Reuters)