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Approximately 74,000 members of Israel's ruling Kadima party will cast their
Approximately 74,000 members of Israel's ruling Kadima party will cast their ballots in 93 polling stations nationwide Wednesday to elect the party's new leader.

The registered party members will rule on who will head the party and possibly become the prime minister after the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit or Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter.

A poll, carried out by Haaretz-Dialog and Channel 10, predicts that Livni, a former Mossad intelligence agent, will win handsomely with 47% of the vote, and become the country's first female leader since Golda Meir in 1969-1974.

The poll predicts the other front-runner, Mofaz, will come second with only 28% of the vote, but the former army chief of staff maintains he will receive at least 43%. The other candidates are clearly behind with approximately 6% each.

A runoff is scheduled for next week in case none of the candidates receives more than 40% of the vote.

Olmert, who faces corruption and fraud charges, has pledged to resign as soon as the new party leader is chosen. However, he is to stay on as caretaker prime minister until a new coalition government is formed.

Olmert's successor will be charged with conducting peace talks with the Palestinians and Syria, which have resumed after a seven-year break. Livni, who was in charge of the negotiations under Olmert, is expected to continue the policy of seeking out a territorial compromise.

Mofaz, known for his harsh comments on Iran's nuclear activities, has a reputation as a conservative politician who would be less willing to make concessions and compromise.


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