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Netanyahu Calls for Early Elections in September

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AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for parliamentary elections to be held in September, one year ahead of schedule.

Netanyahu stopped short of declaring a specific date -- he had been expected to set the vote for Sept. 4  -- but said a shorter election schedule was necessary for Israel's political stability, the Associated Press reported.

"I won't lend my hand to an election campaign that will last a year and a half and damage the state," he said. "A short campaign of four months is better that can return stability to the political system quickly."

The move had been widely expected, with some commentators speculating Netanyahu was looking to shore up a decisive governing majority to put him in a stronger defensive position against Iran, particularly if President Barack Obama is re-elected in the U.S. in November.

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