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News Brief

December 21, 2005
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Despite his health problems, Ariel Sharon’s lead in polls ahead of Israel’s March election is stronger than ever. According to Tuesday’s survey in Ma’ariv, the prime minister’s new Kadima Party will take 42 of the Knesset’s 120 seats in the March 28 ballot, an unprecedentedly robust showing. The Labor Party was predicted to take 22 seats, while the Likud, which elected Benjamin Netanyahu as its new leader Monday, was predicted to take 13 seats. The findings ran counter to speculation that the mild stroke Sharon suffered Sunday would hurt Kadima’s prospects. According to Ma’ariv, respondents said they would back the new centrist party even if Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, widely touted as Sharon’s deputy in the faction, took over.

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