Jan 6, 2006 — JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's centrist Kadima party would easily win a March 28 general election even without the incapacitated leader at its helm, two newspaper polls published on Friday showed.
A poll published in the Haaretz daily found that Kadima led by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would win 40 seats in the 120-member parliament, well ahead of the right-wing Likud party and the centre-left Labor Party.
Labor and Likud would win 18 and 13 seats respectively, the survey said. It noted that respondents' support for Kadima might have been influenced by a sympathy vote over Sharon's illness.
The Yedioth Ahronoth daily published similar results in its poll. It found that Kadima under Olmert would win 39 seats, but would win 42 if led by veteran Israeli statesman Shimon Peres who recently left Labor for Kadima.
Read the complete article Kadima would win election even without Sharon: poll from ABC News.
An editorial from The Jerusalem Post makes the point that for Sharon's Kadima party, his stroke has occurred at a fortune time, as the elections are soon enough for Sharon's illness to still be in the minds of Israelis, but far enough away for the party to get itself organized now that its founder has departed.
While the timing may be fortunate for Kadima, it's not so fortunate for Israel overall. Sharon leaves mighty large shoes to fill and if his successors are not willing or able to step into the breach and do their utmost to see his policies through, it's going to be a long few years coming up, with Hamas gaining influence in Gaza while Fatah gunmen bulldoze their way into Egypt.