Israel's Knesset convened Monday to discuss a government-proposed bill to dissolve the parliament and hold early elections on January 22, dpa reported.
Most lawmakers are expected to vote for the bill, which must pass in three readings in parliament where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition has a majority.
Netanyahu called for early elections Tuesday, saying he would not bow to unreasonable budget demands by coalition partner. Observers say he also initiated the move because his right-leaning Likud party currently has a strong lead in opinion polls.
Voting on the bill is expected to end at around midnight, after which the parliament speaker would announce the Knesset's dissolution and an election recess.
Opinion polls commissioned last week indicated that if the elections were held today, the Likud would remain the biggest party by far, winning some 29 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, two more than its current 27.
The poll also projected that the Israeli parliament's right-wing block would grow to 68 seats. Left-wing and centrist parties would have 52, said the surveys published Thursday by the Ma'ariv and Haaretz newspapers.
But much could change in the coming three months, especially if former prime minister Ehud Olmert decides to return to politics at the head of a centrist faction.