Poll: New Israel centrist party could defeat Likud

October 18, 2012 - 2:34 AM
Mideast Israel Politics

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a speech at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. Israel's parliament has gathered for a vote to dissolve itself and hold early parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

JERUSALEM (AP) — A poll shows that if three Israeli centrist figures were to form a new political party, it could win more seats in the Jan. 22 parliamentary election than Benjamin Netanyahu's governing Likud.

The Dialog survey, released Thursday, says a party with ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his onetime rival Tzipi Livni and charismatic former TV personality Yair Lapid could win 25 seats in the 120-seat assembly, to Likud's 24.

That lineup would not necessarily cost Netanyahu his job. The kingmaker in that scenario could be the ultra-Orthordox Jewish Shas, which could either stay with Likud — or cross political lines to join a centrist-dovish bloc. That is considered unlikely because of its nationalist and religious constituents.

Dialog surveyed 508 people. The poll had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.