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Poll: Livni favored for Kadima leadership

New polls show Tzipi Livni as the favorite to lead Kadima, and possibly Israel’s favorite in a general election contest.

A poll published Friday by Israel’s daily Yediot Achronot showed Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, ahead of her primary Kadima rival, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, by 51 to 43 percent.

The poll follows the results of several other surveys showing that a Kadima party led by Livni would edge out opponents in a general election. A Ynet poll found that Kadima under Livni would win 32 Knesset seats compared to 27 for the LIkud party. Under Mofaz, the party would win 22 seats compared to Likud’s 28.

A separate poll conducted by Ha’aretz showed a smaller margin of victory for a Livni-led Kadima, 26 seats compared to 25 for Likud led by Benjamin Netanyahu. The Ha’aretz poll also found Likud faring much better if Mofaz prevails in his quest for the leadership of Kadima.

The flurry of polling followed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s surprise announcement Wednesday that he would not compete in the Kadima primary race, slated for Sept. 17.

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