Amid speculation that former prime minister Ehud Olmert will attempt to return to politics in newly announced elections, a poll published Thursday showed that he is regarded as less suitable to be prime minister than the former foreign minister Tzipi Livni.
Both would fall well short of mounting a serious challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the poll showed. The two former Kadima leaders are said to be contemplating political comebacks in time for the forthcoming elections, depending on whether surveys give them realistic chances of high office.
According to the poll, conducted by Dialog for Haaretz, when asked who among the potential candidates would be best suited to lead the country, 57-62 percent of respondents said Netanyahu (depending on who he is up against). Livni scored 28%, Olmert 24%, Labor Party chair Shelly Yachimovich 17%, current Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz 16%, Defense Minister Ehud Barak 15%.
Olmert is reportedly waiting to see how polls position him before deciding whether to make a return, having resigned as prime minister to fight corruption charges almost four years ago.
The Haaretz survey projected that Netanyahu’s Likud party would win 29 Knesset seats. The Labor party would win 19 seats, Yisrael Beytenu 15, Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid 11, Shas 10, Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) 8 seats, Kadima 7, United Torah Judaism 6, Meretz 4, Hadash 4, the Arab Ram-Tal party 5, and Balad 2.
Looking at the potential coalition blocs, a Netanyahu-led right wing-religious bloc stood to win up to 68 seats (depending on its precise composition), giving Netanyahu a solid if not overwhelming majority.
The Teleseker-Maariv poll gave Likud 29 seats. Labor 17, Yesh Atid a striking 17 too, Yisrael Beytenu 13, Shas 10 and Kadima 6.
Should an Olmert/Livni party be formed, it would earn a projected 10 seats, largely at the expense of Kadima and Yesh Atid, which would only get three and 13 seats, respectively, the Maariv poll found. The Likud party’s projected seats were unaffected by the potential entry of an Olmert or Livni-led faction.
One significant difference between the Haaretz and Maariv polls was the projected fate of Ehud Barak’s 5-seat Independence party. Haaretz’s survey predicted that the party would disappear, whereas both versions of the Maariv poll — with and without an Olmert/Livni party — saw Independence crossing the 2% threshold for Knesset representation and gaining two seats.