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Photo: Reuters
Sharon is still receiving calls from Likud
Photo: Reuters
Aide: Many in Likud back Sharon
Kadima party aide says that "a third of Likud members called the prime minister and offered their help"; meanwhile, the Likud attempts to remain optimistic despite negative weekend polls
An aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has claimed that following the resignation of the prime minister from the Likud, many Likud members are offering their support for Sharon's new centrist party, Kadima.

 

But Likud sources say that Kadima is celebrating too early, and that subsequent polls will begin to change after the Likud finds a candidate for the upcoming general elections.

 

The Sharon aide told Ynet: "Our biggest joy is that we don't have to carry on going to the weddings, bar mitvas, and all sorts of events (in order to consolidate support). But people are continuing to call, and some have even promised to help."

 

"A third of Likud Central Committee members are continuing to offer their help and are promising to move to Sharon's new party," added the source.

 

The source did, however, concede that there was a decrease in the number of phone calls received by the prime minister from Likud members.

 

The resignation of the prime minister is continuing to create an atmosphere of instability and lack of clarity on the political system. Weekend polls, which indicate an imminent Likud collapse, didn't please the party's members.

 

But Likud members are attempting to remain optimistic, and a source from the party said that "from this point, things can only get better. We won't be seeing the same polls on March 29, the day of the general elections, as we are seeing today."

 

A Dahaf poll published in Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth showed that Sharon's party would receive 33 mandates in the elections. Labor would receive 26 mandates, and a Likud party headed by Netanyahu would shrink to 13 mandates.

 

Likud getting stronger is "only a matter of time"

 

The general assumption of the Likud is that polls would improve following the selection of a candidate for prime minister. "At this time
we lack a chairman and we don't have a clear picture," said a senior Likud member. "This is natural, after a resignation which shocked the political system. But it's only a matter of time, and the people will understand that the Likud party won't benefit them," said the source.

 

A future coalition government is already the center of speculative discussions in the party, with Likud Secretary Yisrael Katz publicizing a motion to be presented to Central Committee members, according to which the Likud would not enter any coalition before holding a national referendum on giving up territory.

 

 

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