Israelis favor broad coalition government - poll

Posted at 02/25/09 8:23 PM

JERUSALEM - Most Israelis favour a broadly based government, according to a poll published on Wednesday as hawkish presumptive premier Benjamin Netanyahu looked to a coalition with far-right parties.

The most widely backed preference, at 36 percent, would be a coalition made up of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima and Defence Minister Ehud Barak's left-of-centre Labour, the Tel Aviv University pollsters said.

Another 16 percent favour a centre-right alliance of Likud, Kadima and the far-right Yisrael Beitenu, a party that emerged third largest in February 10 parliamentary elections.

In contrast, 22 percent expressed a preference for a coalition of Likud, Yisrael Beitenu and other right-wing parties.

Netanyahu was set to start formal coalition negotiations with far-right and religious parties on Wednesday, though he still hopes Livni will reverse a decision not to join forces with him in a broad coalition.

The opinion poll was conducted by Tel Aviv's Center for Peace Research on February 17 and 18 and has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.