Archive for Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Centrist party poised for election gains today

March 28, 2006

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— Israelis head to the polls today in a critical electoral test of acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to withdraw from much of the West Bank, with public opinion surveys indicating a strong advantage for his centrist Kadima Party.

The parliamentary election is the first in Israel's changed political landscape, marking the first time a centrist party is favored to win after decades of dominance by either the rightist Likud or left-leaning Labor Party.

Election-eve polls published Monday showed Kadima losing some ground but well ahead of its nearest rivals.

The polls indicated Kadima would win 34 to 36 seats in the 120-member parliament. Labor, led by longtime union leader Amir Peretz, was expected to get 17 to 21 seats, and Likud, headed by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with 13 to 15 seats, a sharp decline from the 40 seats it controlled in the outgoing legislature.

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