Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert after hearing the verdict in his corruption trial last September.

A new survey commissioned by Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman shows a near-tie between the Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu and a party led by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, bolstered by Tzipi Livni.

A source in Olmert’s circle told Walla that this is an “interesting survey,” and that the former PM has not yet decided whether or not to participate in the upcoming elections.

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The survey, commissioned by Liberman from Arthur Finkelstein, a New York-based Republican Party consultant who has worked for conservative candidates in the United States, Canada, Israel and Eastern Europe over the past four decades, presents an encouraging picture for Liberman and his party. According to the survey, Israel Beiteinu will get 14-16 seats, landing it in third place, ahead of the Labour Party with 13 seats and behind Olmert’s party and Likud which will receive 22 and 22-24 seats respectively.

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement of early elections, Israel Beiteinu Chairman Liberman, has not rested, and has been laboring intensely to sway voters. Nine days ago, he spoke at a meeting of Israel Beiteinu, he attacked the contenders on the left: “A party like Meretz is nothing more than a lobby for the Palestinians inside the Knesset,” he suggested, while also attacking the Labor Party chairperson, Shelly Yachmovitch: “Who speaks for social-democy, but confuses it with Communism.”

Former PM Olmert is rumored to be checking the lay of the land before declaring his run for the Knesset. Eight days ago, Judge Elyakim Rubinshtein, head of the Central Elections Committee, rejected a request from the Ometz (Courage) movement to declare Olmert unfit to serve as Prime Minister as long as he is the defendant in a corruption trial. Rubinshtein said it wasn’t up to him or the Elections Committee to disqualify a candidate for the role of Prime Miniaster.

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