Israel polls on Jan 22, Jordan next day

Israel’s parliament has voted to dissolve itself ahead of schedule and set Jan 22 as the date for the next elections, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

The Knesset’s dissolution was approved by 100 votes to none after a debate lasting eight hours. Netanyahu said last week that he would seek new elections, months ahead of the scheduled October 2013 poll, due to the parliament’s failure to agree a new budget.

“I’m asking to hold elections on Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013,” Netanyahu told the house at the start of the debate. Likud leader Netanyahu and his coalition of right-wing parties are expected to win easily amid the current tensions.

“In less than 100 days, the people of Israel will decide who will lead them in the face of the greatest security challenges which we have known since the founding of the state,” he said.

In Amman, Jordan's electoral authority today set January 23 as the date for a general election after King Abdullah II dissolved parliament despite a boycott pledge by the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.

“In line with a royal decree to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Independent Election Commission decided today to set the vote for Wednesday, January 23," the commission said in a statement carried by the official Petra news agency.

“Applications to run for parliament will start on December 22 and last for three days.

Government employees who wish to run for parliament must resign before October 22.”

More than two million people have registered to vote, the commission said. Jordan has a population of 6.7 million, of whom 3.1 million are entitled to vote.

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