Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, stated on Monday that early elections in Israel could be held by the end of this year, and added that the current situation cannot continue as it is.

The statements of the Labor Party head came during a party meeting. He stated that his party is ready for the elections, and told Kadima party members, headed by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, that “It is the time is now for correct action instead of crawling”.

A source at the Labor party said that if a new government is not formed in two months, then the party would push for early elections.

Last week, Barak said that if Olmert, who is under police investigation, does not resign, then the Labor party will act on order to set a date for early elections.

Member of Knesset, head of the Knesset’s International Affairs Committee, Ophir Pines, said that the Knesset might hold a preliminary vote on dissolving the Knesset in two weeks.

He added that if Kadima party does not initiate this issue, then this suggestion should be pushed by other factions.

Though Barak publically voiced his support for taking measures to stabilize the coalition by having Kadima elect a successor to Olmert from within, the ministers believe the momentum is building for national elections.

Barak said that Olmert is well aware of his crisis and that he is giving serious thoughts to resigning from his post, Israeli Ynet News reported.

The Ynet added that several members of Kadima party started preparing for the primaries, as they could take place in September.

 The Likud party stated that Israel now needs a new and strong government to “face the challenges it is facing”.

The party issued a press release calling on all Knesset factions regardless of their political affiliation, to set a date for dissolving the Knesset and new elections.