Livni, Mofaz augur Kadima’s doom if other elected (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 03/27/12)
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Kadima leadership candidates Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz ended their
campaigns by predicting victory and attacking each other ahead of
Tuesday’s fateful election that is expected to be very close.
Livni defeated Mofaz in the last Kadima primary in September 2008 by
only 431 votes, amid accusations that the results were twisted by
incorrect exit polls, the extension of voting hours and a polling
station that was burned to the ground.
This time, Kadima’s 95,000 members will be eligible to vote in 197
polling stations in 104 sites across the country. Polls open at 10
a.m. and close at 10 p.m. Official results are not expected until at
least 1 a.m. but spokesmen for the candidates said they would know
who won much earlier based on voter turnout in Livni’s and Mofaz’s
Livni is said to have an advantage in Tel Aviv and the Center and
among Russian immigrants, while Mofaz is thought to be stronger in
the North and South and among Arabs and Druse. Turnout in general is
expected to be very low due to forecasts for rain, a train strike and
the fact that Kadima membership is very difficult to cancel – to the
point that many dead people remain on the party’s rolls.
Both campaigns will use thousands of volunteers and paid staffers on
election day to help get out the vote. At a meeting with his top
activists at his campaign headquarters in Yehud, Mofaz predicted that
the race could be decided by a single vote.
“We have reached the moment of truth,” he said. “We can’t afford to
Mofaz, who made a point of not attacking Livni throughout the
campaign, did not hold back in interviews on Thursday.
He lashed out at her for refusing to commit to staying in Kadima if
she lost the race and denied her charges that he would make the party
play second fiddle to a government led by Prime Minister Binyamin
“I will accept the verdict of the voters, but she is unwilling,”
Mofaz said. “The public already decided that she is not an
alternative to Netanyahu. My views are as far away from Netanyahu’s
as the distance from East to West. Kadima’s lack of an agenda over
the past three years brought the party to its current state.”
Livni warned that Mofaz would make Kadima into a second Likud. She
said that if she did not win, the party would cease to be a ruling
party with a legitimate chance of competing for the premiership in
the next general election.
“They say this is the battle of my life, but it’s not about me,”
Livni said in a phone message sent to her supporters. “It’s a joint
battle of all of us. Don’t let others decide for you. If you don’t
vote, we won’t have a leader who can beat Netanyahu.”
Livni accused Mofaz of persuading haredi parties not to join the
government when she tried to form a coalition in 2008. Kadima MK
Shlomo Molla, who supports Livni, complained to Kadima’s election
committee on Monday that Mofaz was illegally using Knesset phones for
MKs in other parties downplayed the significance of the Kadima race,
denouncing the party as irrelevant no matter who leads it. The Labor
Party began a new campaign on Monday urging Kadima members to defect.
(© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/27/12)
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