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Poll: Peres' resignation nudges 30% to vote for Kadima

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    Last update - 10:34 01/12/2005 Poll: Peres resignation nudges 30% to vote for Kadima By Haaretz Service http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/652222.html Some
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2005
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      Last update - 10:34 01/12/2005

      Poll: Peres' resignation nudges 30% to vote for Kadima

      By Haaretz Service
      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/652222.html

      Some 30 percent of Israelis said that the departure of former Labor chairman
      Shimon Peres from the party and his announcement that he was supporting Kadima
      would increase their chances of voting for the newly formed party headed by
      Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, according to a Haaretz-Dialog poll published
      Thursday.

      In contrast, only 15 percent said the addition of Peres to Kadima would
      decrease their chances for supporting the party.

      Examining the findings of the poll, supervised by Prof. Camil Fuchs, will help
      explain why it was so important for Sharon to recruit Peres. The survey, which
      was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday night, asked how Peres' departure from
      Labor and his decision to join Kadima would influence respondents' chances for
      voting for Sharon's party. The findings are unequivocal: As of now, Peres is
      of prime value to Sharon.

      The results are even more surprising among those who voted for the Likud in
      the 2003 elections, 35 percent of whom said that the Peres factor would
      increase their chances of voting for Kadima. A similar percentage of Labor
      voters said the same thing.

      According to the poll findings, a large majority of Israelis believe Sharon is
      the candidate most suited to fill the position of prime minister.
      (Click here for graph)

      A massive 47 percent of those asked said Sharon was their favorite candidate
      in the prime ministerial race.

      The newly elected Labor chairman, Amir Peretz, came in a distant second with
      some 18 percent.

      Ten percent of respondents named former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
      (Likud) as most suitable, followed closely by his party colleagues, Shaul
      Mofaz and Silvan Shalom, with six and three percent respectively.

      Peres will support PM Sharon in election
      At a special press conference Peres convened Wednesday, he stated that Sharon
      was the appropriate person to head a coalition of peace and security. He said
      he was supporting Sharon as the person who had the best chance of restarting
      the peace process with the Palestinians.

      "In my opinion, the appropriate person to head the coalition that will bring
      peace is Arik Sharon," he said. "My party activities have concluded," he
      added.

      "I held talks with him [Sharon] and I am convinced that he is determined to
      continue the peace process. I was informed that he is open to creative ideas
      to attain peace and security. I have decided to support him in the elections
      and to cooperate with him in attaining these goals."

      "This is a difficult day for me in which I ask myself: What is the central
      issue standing before the state of Israel in the coming years and at present?
      I have no doubt that it is the unavoidable combination of peace and diplomatic
      advances. I ask myself how I can contribute in the coming years, and the
      answer is by advancing the peace process that will contribute to a thriving
      economy and social justice."

      "It was not easy but I made the choice and decided," Peres, 82, said on his
      decision to leave the party he has been a member of for 46 years.

      Labor MK: Peres' invented ideology is embarrassing
      Shimon Peres' announcement Wednesday evening of his resignation from the Labor
      Pary drew criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.

      "Peres' invented ideology is embarrassing and bizarre," Labor MK Ophir
      Paz-Pines said Wednesday. "Labor is committed more than any other party to the
      peace process and Peres' attempt to tie his move to peace is pathetic."

      Labor Party Secretary-General, MK Eitan Cabel, said in response, "It's a sad
      day when a leader that has received so much from the Labor Party abandons it
      just as it seems to have found a new hope."

      Likud chairman, MK Gideon Sa'ar, said that the departure of Peres, "who
      symbolizes the Labor Party more than anyone else and is associated with the
      Oslo process and the left, is proof that [Kadima's] path is that of the left,
      and that voting for that party is the same as voting Labor."

      Meretz-Yahad MK Ran Cohen said that Peres is not retiring for the good of the
      country or of peace, but to reap personal gain. He added that the only result
      would be the strengthening of the Likud.
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