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Livni's 'Divide and Lose' Strategy a Gift for Netanyahu

Tzipi Livni has unwittingly carried out a “divide and lose” strategy that allows Netanyahu to easily conquer the left, a new poll shows.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/28/2012, 10:25 AM

MK Livni in Knesset
MK Livni in Knesset
Flash 90

Tzipi Livni has unwittingly carried out a “divide and lose” strategy that allows Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to easily conquer the left, a new poll shows.

Livni proved to be a political failure four years ago after she could not form a government even though her Kadima party received one more Knesset seat than the Likud.

Pundits claimed that she led the party into the ground with her boring oratory, lack of warmth towards party members and a one-theme policy of bashing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Livni was bumped off as leader in a party primaries vote, won by former IDF CoS Shaul Mofaz in March 2012, and she eventually quit the party.

She bounced back with a new party with the thoroughly unimaginative name of “Movement,” adding her own name to the moniker for good measure.

The first poll following her announcement was released Wednesday by Haaretz and showed dismal results for her but great news for Netanyahu.

If elections were held today, Livni and her party would win a grand total of seven seats in the next Knesset, all at the expense of Labor, which dropped by five seats in the polls, and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (Future) party, which also is down five seats from previous polls.

The slack was taken up by Meretz, the only real ideological party on the left, which now is given the possibility of increasing its Knesset representation from three to five.

Kadima would disappear from the political map, according to the poll, which was carried out by Prof. Kamil Fox of the University of Tel Aviv's Dept. of Statistics.

Livni supporter Chaim Ramon claimed the poll is not accurate because it was carried out too soon and before the Movement party has presented its slate of candidates.

However, previous poll experience has shown that new parties usually win the most support immediately following the announcement of their formation, and that later surveys show an erosion in popularity.

A case in point is Lapid’s party, which won nearly 20 mandates on paper in the initial polls after it was formed and then dropped back to the low double digits.

Fox’s poll published on Wednesday provides the following lineup, with a solid majority of 69 Knesset seats in a projected Likud coalition with nationalist and religious parties.

Likud-Yisrael Beytenu: 40

Labor: 18

Jewish Home-National Union: 8

Future (Lapid): 8

Meretz: 5

The other seats would be taken by the religious parties as well as the three predominantly Arab parties.

The newly-formed Power party, headed by MKs Aryeh Eldad and Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, would not win enough votes to gain Knesset representation, according to the poll. If they were to give up their candidacies, their votes could give the Jewish Home at least one more seat in the next Knesset.