Likud ministers were busy positioning themselves for the post vacated by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as head of the Likud party. With the party’s central committee set to convene in a couple of days to determine a date for primaries and a list for Knesset candidates, former Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to enjoy the widest popularity to lead Likud, the poll revealed. Some 51 percent of Likud members prefer Netanyahu over other candidates like Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. However, only 23 percent of the general public supports Netanyahu as future prime minister. Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who engaged Sunday in long talks with Sharon regarding future cooperation, will not leave the Labor Party to join Sharon's new party, Peres' aides said Monday.
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