Israeli Court Rules on National Elections

(July 6, 2004)

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled on July 6, 2004, that national elections will be held in November 2006, a year earlier than originally planned. An expanded panel of seven justices overruled an earlier decision by the court that elections should be held in 2007. The court decided that a loophole in an election law that was hastily written in 1999 meant elections should be held in 2006.

The petition, presented by Labor and Yahad MKs is based on the amendment to the Basic Law: Government that determines the date of elections as Cheshvan four years after the Prime Minister disperses the Knesset.

General elections are supposed to be held every four years, unless parliament is dissolved as a result of the collapse of a governing coalition. Elections were last held in February 2003. In recent years, Israeli governments have collapsed well before their four-year terms expired. Israel has had four general elections since 1996 - three for parliament and one special election for prime minister.

Sources: AP, Jerusalem Post, (July 6, 2004)