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Israeli Exit Polls Show Olmert Leading

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with ballot in hand, leaves a ballot station today in Jerusalem (epa) March 28, 2006 -- First preliminary exit polls indicate interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party has won the most seats in the Israeli parliament in elections today.

The exit polls gave the centrist Kadima party 29 to 32 seats in the 120-member legislature. Correspondents say the result was below expectations, but puts the party in good position to lead a coalition.

Exit polls indicate the center-left Labor party will win 20 to 22 seats and right-wing Likud will get 12. The polls indicated a strong showing for the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party of Russian immigrants.

The election was widely seen as a referendum on Israel's plans for the West Bank. Olmert pledged to set Israel's permanent borders by 2010 through the completion of a barrier wall in the West Bank and removing isolated Jewish settlements.

(compiled from agency reports)

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