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Tel Aviv -
Speculation mounted in Israel Wednesday that the country was headed for early elections, following the decision of the Kadima party to quit the coalition government because of a dispute over a new mandatory national service law.
The Yediot Aharanot daily, quoting “sources” in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, said that once parliament returned in October from its summer recess, it would vote to dissolve itself and hold new elections at the beginning of 2013, as opposed to their scheduled date in autumn 2013.
Ben Caspit, an analyst for the Ma'ariv daily, said the elections would take place sometime between February and April next year.
The centrist Kadima voted Tuesday afternoon to leave the coalition - only 70 days after it had joined - when party leader Shaul Mofaz said negotiations had failed with Netanyahu over a new law which would end blanket exemptions of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arab-Israelis from national service.
With the departure of the 28 Kadima legislators, Netanyahu now heads a coalition commanding the support of 66 of the 120
legislators in parliament. - Sapa-dpa