Kadima leads Israeli election

JTA Staff Report

Ehud Olmert’s Kadima Party won the most seats in Israel’s election, but fared worse than polls had suggested. Kadima won 29-32 seats in the voting for Israel’s 120-seat Knesset, according to exit polls. As a result of Tuesday’s vote, which saw a record-low turnout, Olmert is likely to continue as prime minister, a job he assumed on an interim basis after Ariel Sharon suffered a debilitating stroke Jan. 4. The Labor Party, led by Amir Peretz, was second, with 19-22 mandates. The biggest loser was Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, which won no more than 12 seats and could trail Yisrael Beitenu, a hawkish party led by Avigdor Lieberman that won 12-14 seats. The other big surprise was the six to eight seats won by the Pensioners Party.