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Polls predict 6 to 7 seats for Tzipi Livni’s new party

(JTA) — Two polls predict no more than seven seats in the Israeli parliament for Tzipi Livni’s newly established center-left party.

A Smith Research poll of 500 Israelis commissioned by The Jerusalem Post and the Globes daily found Livni would garner no more than six seats in Israel’s Jan. 22 general elections, the Post reported Friday.

A second poll, commissioned by Haaretz and canvassing 514 Israelis, predicted seven seats for Livni’s party, Hatnua (The Movement), which was launched Tuesday. Haaretz did not name its pollster.

In the first poll, Likud Beiteinu, the new grouping uniting the two leading parties in the current coalition, wins the elections with 39 seats while the second poll puts it at 37 seats.

Sixty-six percent of the respondents of the Smith Research poll found Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fit to lead while only 21 percent said the same of Livni, the former foreign minister and leader of Kadima, a centrist party founded in the mid-2000s.

In the 2009 elections, Kadima won 28 seats to Likud’s 27, but Netanyahu was better positioned to form a coalition. 

Both polls have an error margin of 4.2 percentage points, and both were conducted on Nov. 27, after hard-liners scored high in the Likud primaries. 

Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich told Army Radio the results show "how wrong Livni has been in her decision to set up another splinter party.”

The Smith Research poll has Labor clinching 20 seats. Yesh Atid, a centrist, secular party led by former journalist Yair Lapid, would win 10, according to that poll. 

The same poll found that Livni’s party would take no seats away from the Center-Right bloc, which remained strong with 68 mandates, up three from the current Knesset.

Shas, a party of haredi Orthodox Sephardic Jews, would win 11 seats and Meretz, a liberal-left wing party, five.

The Haaretz poll predicts Kadima, now led by Shaul Mofaz, would receive two seats while the Smith Research poll indicates Kadima would not pass the voting threshold of 2 percent.

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