Kadima would win the same number of seats in the next Knesset regardless of whether the party is led by incumbent Tzipi Livni or her main challenger, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz, a Smith Research poll found on Thursday.

The poll, taken for the Globes business daily, found that if an election were held now, either Livni or Mofaz would win Kadima 13 seats, down from its current 28. But while under Livni, the overwhelming majority of Kadima voters would be people who cast ballots for the party in the last election, Mofaz would bring Kadima new supporters from the Likud, Labor, Shas and Israel Beiteinu.

Polls taken just a week before found that Livni would bring Kadima four or even five more seats than Mofaz.

“This is just the beginning and we will only rise,” a source close to Mofaz said.

The poll of 500 respondents was conducted on Monday and Tuesday.

It predicted 30 seats for the Likud.

Five parties would each obtain 10-15 seats: Labor, Israel Beiteinu, Kadima, former journalist Yair Lapid’s new party and Shas. If former Shas leader Arye Deri would form a party, it would win 10 seats and leave Shas with only six.

The Kadima council began the process of approving its March 27 primary at a meeting on Thursday night, at the party’s headquarters in Petah Tikva. In a surprise move, speeches by the candidates were canceled.

Behind the scenes, representatives of the candidates bickered over the makeup of the party’s election committee.

Livni succeeded in passing a proposal requiring that the committee include two women and that representatives of MKs Avi Dichter and Meir Sheetrit be forced to leave the committee if they end up not running for party head.

“We are proud that we reached such agreements,” a Livni associate said. “After Livni wins the primary, the losers won’t be able to have excuses.”

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