Kahlon strengthens at everyone's expense

The latest "Globes" poll finds Shas in single digits for the first time since 1992.

Moshe Kahlon is galloping ahead. The monthly poll by the Rafi Smith Institute for "Globes" found that he is consolidating his position, and would win 14 Knesset seats were elections held today. In terms of awareness, it seems that his new political party is a fait accompli; and is no transient whim.

In poll after poll, Kahlon wins big, even before he has done anything. According to the latest poll, the former communications minister and social affairs minister has Israel's third largest party, passing Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman's Israel Beitenu (nine Knesset seats), Minister of Finance Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid (11 Knesset seats), and Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi (13 Knesset seats), and is breathing down the neck of the Labor Party (15 Knesset seats). The Likud would win 23 Knesset seats in the latest poll.

Kahlon's still non-existent party has shattered Yesh Atid, and is winning Knesset seats from Labor, Shas (which would win seven seats, according to the latest poll), and even two seats from the Likud. For the first time since the 1992 elections, Shas is falling to the single digits. Supporters of Meretz, with nine seats, have apparently realized that Kahlon is heading rightward, and the party's slide in the previous poll has stabilized.

Kahlon is at a peak where he cannot stay for long. He needs elections as soon as possible, but the threat to jump into the fray will only make the coalition ranks more crowded. It will not break apart until there is a response to one of the social demands; in other words, there will be no elections on the horizon until home prices come down.

On the basis of the poll, the 20th Knesset will be fragmented. If the government in the current Knesset is uncontrollable, what will happen if the next Knesset consists of four or five mid-sized factions?

Rivlin for president

23% of the public would like to see MK Reuven Rivlin as Israel's next president, succeeding Shimon Peres, and they believe that he will be elected. The Knesset elects the president by secret ballot.

In ten days, we will see if the public is right or wrong. The public is realistic about Prof. Dan Shechtman: although 19% of the public support him, only 1% believe that he will win. The public knows its MKs, and does not trust them to do what it wants. Were it up to the public, the election would be between Rivlin and Shechtman. Were Dalia Itzik elected president, the public would be greatly surprised; while she is a realistic candidate among the MKs, that is not the case among the general public.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 29, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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