October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- If the main leaders of Israel's center and left political forces would join forces in one party, they could defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the early general elections to be held in January, a survey revealed Thursday.

The party would be headed by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and would include former Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni, Kadima's current chairman Shaul Mofaz, as well as TV pundit-turned- politician Yair Lapid. Such a super political party would be unstoppable, with 31 seats in the Knesset (parliament), a Smith research poll conducted for The Jerusalem Post found.

Netanyahu's party, Likud, would get 27 seats, the survey showed, while Yisrael Beitenu would get 14, Labor 12 and the ultra- Orthodox party Shas 11.

Other polls carried out by different newspapers in Israel found that if the elections were held today, Netanyahu would be unbeatable. A Tel Aviv University poll on behalf of the Haaretz daily showed the right-wing Likud's Netanyahu pulling in 57 percent to 62 percent of those polled, who view him the most appropriate candidate.

Tzipi Livni, who recently said she was quitting politics, received 28 percent of the respondents' votes.

Olmert, who is still undecided about returning to political life, received 24 percent of the votes, while Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich received 17 percent, current Kadima chief Mofaz got 16 percent, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak got 15 percent for his Independence faction.

Another poll published Thursday by the Ma'ariv daily found that if the elections were held today, Likud would garner 29 mandates.

Following a call to bring forward the parliamentary elections, Netanyahu on Thursday announced the upcoming elections would take place on Jan. 22, 2013.

Netanyahu submitted a draft bill to dissolve the 18th Knesset, which was set to begin its winter session on Oct. 15. The Justice Ministry has okayed the bill, and it only awaits final authorization by the government at the Sunday cabinet session.


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