Amir Peretz may not yet be well-known on the international stage but the new leader of the Israeli Labour Party is hoping to change all that when he challenges Ariel Sharon in a snap poll as soon as next February. News of a ballot up to nine months ahead of schedule came after Peretz met the man he hopes to replace as prime minister. Conservative premier Sharon agreed to an early showdown with his rival, prompting reaction on the street.“I think he is right. I think when there is so much disagreement between the two main forces and there is no ability to maintain the government, there is no other option than elections,” said one man. “I would love to have this government removed as (quickly as) possible,” added another. “I think with this disengagement, he has already exhausted his political agenda.” An early ballot has been on the cards ever since Peretz’s surprise victory in Labour’s leadership contest last week, when he vowed to pull his party out of Sharon’s ruling coalition.