Israel: Early Election Likely

Good news from our only real ally in the Middle East:

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Shas party refused to join a coalition government Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is seeking to assemble, increasing the chance of a general election in early 2009.

“It has been decided not to join the government,” Roi Lachmanovich, a spokesman for Shas leader Eli Yishai, said in a telephone interview today. “The decision is final.”

The rebuff came after Livni late yesterday said she’ll announce on Oct. 26 whether she expects to form a government and take over as prime minister or ask President Shimon Peres to call early elections. Shas’s 12 seats in the 120-person parliament could give her the support she needs for a majority.

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Israel: Netanyahu Leads, Livni Close Second

Of the following who is most appropriate to be prime minister?

Benjamin Netanyahu 29%
Tzipi Livni 22%
Ehud Barak 8%
Shaul Mofaz 8%
None 29%
All same 4%

Source: Dialog / Haaretz
Methodology: Interviews with 503 Israeli adults, conducted on Jul. 31, 2008. Margin of error is 5 per cent.

Israel: No Trust in Government Leaders Attending Annapolis Conference

On the eve of Annapolis, do you have confidence in the three leaders of the government?

Yes No
Ehud Olmert 24% 75%
Ehud Barak 29% 68%
Tzipi Livni 52% 44%
The entire leadership 27% 69%

Should borders, Jerusalem, and the “right of return” be negotiated already at the start of the talks?

Yes 35%
No 63%

Source: Dahaf Institute / Yediot Ahronot
Methodology: Interviews with 500 Israeli adults, conducted on Nov. 22, 2007. Margin of error is 4.5 per cent.