Prime Minister Ehud
Barak announced November 28, 2000, that he agreed to early elections.
The largest parties in
the Knesset agreed on May
22, 2001, as the the date for the election.
Barak's announcement came as support for his
leadership eroded in the Knesset.
Sixty-one members are needed to dissolve the Knesset and call for
early elections and as many as 78 had expressed the intention of
voting to do so. The effort to bring down the government was
sponsored by the opposition Likud
Party, but gained widespread support from even traditional allies
of Barak's Labor Party such as members of the Arab parties.