Opinion polls published Tuesday morning in Israel indicated that if elections to parliament were to be held now, Premier Ariel Sharon would win a third term in office, and could form coalitions with as many as 71 seats in the 120-seat house.
The Haaretz-Dialog survey showed that Sharon's new party would be the largest in the Israeli Knesset, with 30 seats. Labor under new leader Amir Peretz will gain 26 seats. The Likud, which is yet to choose a new leader following Sharon's departure, would get only 15 seats.
Additional surveys showed similar results. In a poll conducted for the most popular Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Sharon's party gained 33 seats versus 26 for Labor, and only 12 for the Likud.
Another poll published by Maariv showed Sharon taking 30 seats, Labor 26, and the Likud 15.