Cabinet: Israel to head to polls January 22

By the Associated Press | October 14, 2012 | 12:34 PM EDT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, laughs as Defense Minister Ehud Barak, back to camera, makes a joke that Netanyahu should give fair time to the opposition in political statements, as Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem offices, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Israel's Cabinet announced January 22, 2013 as the date for parliamentary elections, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading in the polls. (AP Photo/Jim Hollander, Pool)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's parliamentary election has been set for Jan. 22, the Cabinet decided Sunday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading in the polls.

Netanyahu said he was forced to call early elections last week after he was unable to pass a budget for the coming year. Elections were originally scheduled for October 2013.

The Cabinet's decision Sunday awaits final approval from the parliament on Monday, where an endorsement is expected.

Most polls have shown Netanyahu is likely to retain his post if the current party alignment remains in place. He has presided over a stable coalition for nearly four years in a country where governments rarely serve out their full terms.