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Feb 2009 Israeli elections

by: JTA - Last updated: 2008-10-31

Elections in Israel for a new prime minister are to take place on February 10 next year.

The country's next general election was supposed to be in 2010, but prime minister Ehud Olmert's resignation announcement in July set in a motion a chain of events leading to early elections, which will be held for the entire 120-member Knesset.

The move toward early elections came after Olmert's successor as Kadima leader, Tzipi Livni, failed to assemble a coalition government needed to govern following her election by the party in September.

Livni announced this week that her main rival in the primary campaign, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, would be her party's campaign chairman.

Along with Livni, the foreign minister, the main contenders for prime minister in the upcoming election are Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Labor and Likud opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Barak announced that his party will hold primary elections before the February vote.