Middle East

Poll: New Israel centrist party could defeat Likud

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (front C) stands with Andrew Standley (front R), the EU ambassador to Israel, as they pose for a group photo after Netanyahu's address to EU diplomats in Jerusalem October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM: A poll shows that if three Israeli centrist figures were to form a new political party, it could win more seats in the Jan. 22 parliamentary election than Benjamin Netanyahu's governing Likud.

The Dialog survey, released Thursday, says a party with ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his onetime rival Tzipi Livni and charismatic former TV personality Yair Lapid could win 25 seats in the 120-seat assembly, to Likud's 24.

That lineup would not necessarily cost Netanyahu his job. The kingmaker in that scenario could be the ultra-Orthordox Jewish Shas, which could either stay with Likud - or cross political lines to join a centrist-dovish bloc. That is considered unlikely because of its nationalist and religious constituents.

Dialog surveyed 508 people. The poll had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.





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