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Thursday, February 21, 2013
Panels Poll: Yesh Atid 30 Likud-Beiteinu 22 Habayit Hayehudi 15 Labor 13 Shas 9

Yesh Atid enjoys surge in popularity
Knesset Channel poll suggests that if elections were held today
Likud-Beiteinu would drop to second largest party after Yesh Atid with 22
seats
Moran Azulay YNET Published: 02.21.13, 21:24 / Israel News
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4348013,00.html

A new poll conducted by the Knesset Channel suggests that since Israel's
January elections the Yesh Atid party has enjoyed a massive surge in
popularity. According to the poll, had elections been held today, Yair
Lapid's party would have won 30 Knesset seats and the Likud-Beiteinu's joint
list only 22.

Conducted by the Panels Institute last week, the poll sampled 510
respondents and predicted that elections today would see Habayit Hayehudi
landing 15 mandates, Labor 13 and Shas nine Knesset seats.

However, asked who they would like to see as prime minister, the majority
(28%) replied Benjamin Netanyahu; 18% said Yair Lapid and 13% picked Labor's
Shelly Yachimovich for the job. Bennett won 11% of the respondents' votes.

Respondents were also asked whether Yesh Atid should join a coalition with
the haredi parties and 46% said it should not. Half of the respondents
expressed support for Tzipi Livni's decision to join the coalition; 38% were
opposed to the move.

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that representatives of the Habayit
Hayehudi and Likud-Beiteinu will meet on Friday in order to negotiate
Habayit Hayehudi's possible place in the coalition.

Naftali Bennett's party said that their first demand would be to deny Livni
the role of chief negotiator with the Palestinians. On Wednesday, Lapid
slammed Livni for agreeing to divide Jerusalem and withdrawing from Ariel.

Discussing the coalition negotiations, Lapid wrote on his Facebook page on
Thursday, "The coalition negotiations will not make us forget why we're here
and what we won't compromise over. Anyone who says we'll ultimately fold
just doesn't know us."

The Yesh Atid chairman hinted he is not desperate to get a cabinet seat.
"The question is whether we'll sit in the government with our principles or
in the opposition because of them. Right now the two options seem equally as
likely and that's a shame. Why? Because Netanyahu could have formed a
government two weeks ago, without breaking any sweat."

The Likud-Beiteinu has not invited Lapid for another meeting and the meeting
with Bennett's team represents another effort to break the alliance between
the two parties. Meanwhile, Bennett and Lapid appeared tighter than ever
Thursday when they met with Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz.

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