Netanyahu met with Eli Yishai, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, which has a largely low-income constituency and is expected to oppose cuts in social spending.
"If you ask me, elections will likely be in February," Yishai told Israel Radio after his meeting.
Ofir Akunis of Netanyahu's Likud Party told Army Radio that Netanyahu has a month to decide.
"If by the end of the month we don't get a draft formula that allows the passing of a responsible budget for the year 2013, there will be no choice but to bring forward the elections," he said.
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