Likud ´would be largest party in election´: poll (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/27/12)
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An Israeli poll published on Friday, amid fresh talk of possible
early elections, showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s Likud
party winning twice as much support as any rival.
But the Smith Research survey carried by Jerusalem Post newspaper
said Likud would still fall far short of a parliamentary majority and
once again be forced into a coalition.
The poll of 500 Jewish and Arab Israelis said that if Netanyahu
brought forward a general election scheduled for October 2013, Likud
would take 31 seats in the 120-seat legislature.
The tally would be well ahead of Labour and the ultra-nationalist
Yisrael Beitenu -- a current coalition partner -- which would have 15
The centrist opposition Kadima, currently the largest party by a
hair, with 28 seats to Likud´s 27 would shrink to 13 in early
Netanyahu has stated repeatedly that he does not intend to bring
forward the election date, but speculation is rife and has been
rising ahead of parliament´s return next week from its spring break.
"I believe that Israel is in an election year and that the Knesset?s
summer session, which will open on Monday, will be the last session
of the 18th Knesset," speaker Reuven Rivlin told the top-selling
daily Yediot Aharonot.
It quoted Rivlin as saying Netanyahu needed to increase his
parliamentary numbers ahead of the 2013 budget and to strengthen his
hand by going to the polls before the US presidential election in
Commentators believe that a new term for President Barack Obama could
spell fresh US pressure on Israel over its moribund peace process
with the Palestinians.
Friday´s poll, with a 4.5-percentage margin of error, predicted that
in the event of early elections the right-centre bloc of parties in
the Knesset -- Likud and its potential coalition partners -- could
muster the support of 67 lawmakers. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France
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