15 Mayors Mull Returning to Likud From Kadima

Fifteen local authority heads who quit Likud for Kadima in 2006 are thinking of returning to their old party, as national elections approach.

"We are disappointed with Kadima's leader and prime ministerial candidate, [Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni," one mayor said. "We don't believe she can lead the country. We all came from Likud, so it's only natural we go back."

This comes after recent polls put Likud ahead of Kadima, indicating it may return to power after the elections in February. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to bank on his popularity in the polls by personally inviting mayors to return to his party.

Likud officials said much of Kadima's strength in the last election came from its recruitment of 94 local authority heads. They said that unlike lawmakers who left for Kadima, mayors who decide to return to the Likud will be welcomed, and won't be considered traitors.

Some of the mayors allegedly considering returning to Likud received support from Kadima in the last local elections, three weeks ago.

Netivot Mayor Yehiel Zohar is responsible for organizing the mayors' return to Likud.