Polls: Livni Defeats Bibi, But Not Certain to Form Coalition


satelliteWith voting stations officially closed, exit polls at 10 p.m. suggested that Kadima would win today’s general elections. However, due to the dramatic rise in support of the Likud and Yisroel Beiteinu compared with the previous election, it seems that Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu would have a better chance than Kadima head Tzipi Livni of forming the next coalition.According to Channel 1, the right-wing bloc won 63 Knesset seats and the left wing 57; Channel 2 predicted 64for the right and 56 for the left; and Channel 10, like Channel 1, predicted 63 and 57.

However, the average number of seats for the right-wing and left-wing is calculated with Yisroel Beiteinu supporting the Likud; however, before the election, party head Avigdor Lieberman refused to divulge whom he would recommend President Shimon Peres entrust with the job of building a coalition.

The Channel 1 poll showed Kadima winning 30 mandates (29 in current Knesset), and Likud trailing closely behind with 28 seats (12). Yisroel Beiteinu was predicted to earn 14 (11) mandates, and Labor was slated to get 13 (18) seats.

According to the Channel 2 poll, Kadima would receive 29 mandates, while Likud would get 27 seats. Yisroel Beiteinu was predicted to earn 15 mandates, and Labor 13 seats.

Channel 10 followed the same pattern, predicting Kadima with 30 mandates, Kadima with 28 seats, Yisroel Beiteinu with 15 mandates, and Labor with 13 seats.

Once the final results of the election are known, President Shimon Peres will begin a round of consultations with party leaders, to hear who they are recommending for prime minister. In the past, the task of forming a coalition has been given to the head of the largest party.

But election legislation gives Peres wide leeway, and he can grant the first opportunity to the party leader who he judges has the best chance in forming a government, even if that party did not earn the most mandates in the election.

The three exit polls, on average, found Shas to be the fifth largest party with 9-10 seats (12 in current Knesset), followed by United Torah Judaism with 5 (6), Meretz 4-5 (5), Chadash 4 (3), Jewish Home 3-4 (5), National Union 3 (2), Balad 2-3 (3) and Ra’am Ta’al with 2-4 mandates (4 in current Knesset).

Following the closing of polling stations around the country, the final voter turnout stood at 65.2 percent of the eligible 5.2 million voters, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) said tonight.

The turnout was slightly higher than the previous election in 2006, but lower than the voter turnout in the 2003 election.

2006 saw the lowest turnout rate in Israeli history, with only 63.55% of voters casting their ballots by the day’s end. The previous record had been set in the 2003 elections, with a 67.8 percent voter turnout.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/Galei Tzahal/Jpost/Arutz Sheva and News Agencies}