Monday, January 26, 2009

Netanyahu Pulls Away in Polls; Likud Appears Likely to Re-take Israeli Government on Feb. 10

Financial Times, January 27, 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling away from rivals in the race to become Israel's next prime minister.

His growing lead signals that the war against Hamas has accelerated Israel's shift to the right. Polls show that Mr Netanyahu, leader of the rightwing Likud party opposition, would win at least 28 seats. His closest rival in the February 10 election, the centrist Kadima party, is expected to secure 24 to 25.

The gap has widened, suggesting that the Gaza conflict provided only a limited boost to the parties in government. Both Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and Kadima leader, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister and Labour leader, have seen personal ratings rise but their parties have not benefited to the same degree....

On current predictions, the future government will be made up of either a combination of the main parties - Likud, Kadima and Labour - or an alliance between Likud and ultra-nationalist and religious parties....

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