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Israel to dissolve parliament, hold elections in April

Israeli coalition leaders agreed Monday to hold early elections in April, seven months before they are due, a statement issued on their behalf said. Coalition party heads in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government have decided to dissolve parliament and hold elections in early April "in the name of budgetary and national responsibility," the statement distributed by a spokesman for Netanyahu's Likud party said. The decision comes with the coalition struggling to agree on a key bill related to ultra-Orthodox Jews serving in the military like their secular counterparts. Netanyahu's coalition was left with a one-seat majority in parliament following defence minister Avigdor Lieberman's resignation in November over a controversial Gaza ceasefire deal. His resignation removed his Yisrael Beitenu party's five seats from the coalition. Netanyahu is also facing mounting pressure over a series of corruption investigations into his affairs.

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