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Poll: Israeli public in favor of unity gov't
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09:04, February 23, 2009

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The Israeli public would prefer their next government to be a unity one, local news service Ynet reported on Sunday, citing a poll.

According to a War and Peace Index survey published Sunday, as for the future coalition, 36 percent of those polled expressed a preference for a unity government made up of the center-right Likud party, centrist Kadima party and left-wing Labor party.

Meanwhile, 22 percent opted for a Likud-led rightist coalition and 16 percent would prefer a coalition made up of the Likud, Kadima and right-wing Israel Beiteinu, which is the third largest party in the 18th Knesset (parliament), revealed the War and Peace Index.

The index, conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, is published monthly since 1994, and is compiled of a monthly telephone survey of 600 Israeli citizens representing various sectors in the Israeli society.

The poll, which probed Israeli public's sentiment following the February 10th parliamentary election, also indicated that some 43 percent of those polled defined themselves as rightists, 26 percent said they were centrists and 20 percent were affiliated with the political left.

Earlier on Sunday, during the weekly cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert urged Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition government fast.

Olmert also praised Israeli President Shimon Peres' decision to task Netanyahu with forming the new government, saying that Israel needs a strong and stable government in order to contend with the challenges it faces.

On Friday, Peres officially entrusted Netanyahu with the task of building a coalition, ten days after the parliamentary election.

Netanyahu, upon accepting the mission, called on Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni and Labor party leader Ehud Barak to work with him, adding "I urge all Knesset factions to join me in coalition."

Netanyahu, who was previously the 9th prime minister of Israel from June 1996 to July 1999, would then have 42 days to forge a coalition government. Until the new government is formed, Olmert, who was forced to resign amid a corruption scandal, will remain in office as caretaker prime minister.


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