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Latest update : 2008-09-17

Israeli Foreign Minister and contender for the Kadima party leadership Tzipi Livni has a 20 percent lead over her closest rival, ex-defence minister Shaul Mofaz, according to a private television poll released on Monday.

Israeli Foreign Minister and contender for the Kadima party leadership Tzipi Livni has a 20 percent lead over her closest rival ex-defence minister Shaul Mofaz, a poll released on Monday reported.
Livni secured 48 percent backing of Kadima members asked, compared with 28 percent for Transport Minister Mofaz, according to the survey broadcast by private television channel 10 two days before the actual vote on Wednesday.
The two other candidates, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, garnered only six percent support each.
Livni and Mofaz are the top two candidates to take over the leadership of the ruling centrist Kadima party after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is being investigated over several corruption allegations, stands down.
Some 70,000 registered Kadima members are eligible to vote and about 100 polling stations will be set up across the country.
Under Kadima's charter the winner of the vote needs to garner more than 40 percent to avoid going into a second round run-off which would take place on September 24.
By law, should Olmert make good on his pledge to resign after the party election, he will remain premier of a caretaker administration until the new Kadima leader forms a new government.
Should the party chairman fail to form a new coalition government with a majority in parliament within 42 days, national elections will be held three months later.
Olmert would remain as interim prime minister until national elections unless he resigns completely, in which case Livni would become interim premier by virtue of being his first deputy, regardless of the outcome of Wednesday's vote.
The poll was carried out by the Dialog institute among an unknown number of Kadima party members. The margin of error was not given.

Date created : 2008-09-16