Friday, August 29, 2008
Livni Opens Wide Gap Over Mofaz
The Kadima party primaries are only three weeks away, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has opened a wide lead in the polls over her rival, Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz. Polls show her leading by anywhere from 11 to 21 percentage points. In at least one sector, however, Mofaz is leading by far. A Brain Base survey finds that Mofaz has the support of 71% of the non-Jewish sector of the Kadima membership, while Livni has only 4%.
How Would Kadima Do?
Yet another survey, this one carried out by Panorama Markets, finds that Kadima would do better in the general elections if headed by Livni than by Mofaz - but in either case would finish second to the Likud. The numbers show that if Livni heads Kadima, the Likud would receive 24 Knesset mandates and Kadima would take 23. With Mofaz at the helm, however, the Likud would win, 22-19. Labor would finish in 3rd place in either scenario, with 14 MKs (if Livni heads Kadima) or 17 (Mofaz).
Different Polls, Different Results
In terms of support among the some 70,000 registered Kadima members - including some 3,500 who are also illegally registered in other parties - Livni is well ahead of Mofaz. The Brain Base survey shows that Livni could garner 46% of the votes, compared to just 35% for Mofaz.
Another survey, by Maariv-Teleseker - shows an even more prominent lead for Livni, 49% to 28%. The two other candidates, Ministers Dichter and Sheetrit, receive single-digit support.
If any candidate wins while receiving more than 40% of the vote, a second round will not be necessary.
Livni Negotiating a PA State
Mofaz has sharply attacked Livni on many occasions, citing her supposed inexperience and indecisiveness. Mofaz, a former Defense Minister and IDF Chief of Staff, is perceived to be more hawkish than Livni, who is heavily involved in negotiating an agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
Mofaz has also said that he has much better chances of forming a new government, without having to resort to new elections, than does Livni. The polls are split on whether Mofaz has made his point.
Who Can Form a New Government Coalition?
The Brain Base poll shows that 36% of the voting public feel that Mofaz can form an alternative government, while only 19% believe the same about Livni. The Teleseker survey, on the other hand, finds the opposite: 46% think Livni's chances are greater than that of Mofaz, while 30.5% like Mofaz's chances better.
The winner of the primaries will be granted a chance to form Israel's next government. He or she will be given 42 days to form a government, and if not, elections are to be held 90 days later - somewhere around the end of January. In such a case, the winner of the elections will again have 42 days to form a new government. In any event, Ehud Olmert will remain the Prime Minister until a new government is actually formed.