Livni takes poll lead as Israel heads for election

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Tzipi Livni's Kadima party could beat the right-wing opposition in a new parliamentary election, according to two newspaper surveys published yesterday.

Ms Livni abandoned attempts to forge a coalition government on Sunday, and recommended to the President Shimon Peres that he call an election.

The polls showed Kadima just beating Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud – a reversal of the results forecast in previous polls, published in August. "We all awoke today to flattering polls, and while this is certainly important, we need a Kadima that is strong, a Kadima that is united," said Ms Livni.

Mr Peres was yesterday expected to set into motion procedures for an election in January or February. The poll in Yedioth Ahronoth predicted Kadima would take 29 of 120 seats while Likud would take 26.

A poll for Maariv gave Kadima 31 seats and Likud 29. Two polls in August showed Likud winning between 31 and 33 seats with Kadima taking 20 to 23.