Kadima Votes for Leader; Polls Show Party a Loser (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu 03/27/12)
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Kadima chooses between Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz as leader on
Tuesday, but polls show that whoever wins, the party is a loser.
Turnout is expected to be small following a campaign that featured
each candidate warning that choosing the other would doom the party.
On paper, Kadima is Israel´s largest party, having won one more
Knesset Member than Likud in the last general elections. Since
Livni’s failure to form a coalition government, the party has fallen
into disfavor under her leadership, which has been far from inspiring
Livni has defined her position as Opposition leader as requiring her
to speak against virtually every action of the Netanyahu government,
including those that Kadima once favored. A rare exception was her
joining virtually every other political leader in condemning European
Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton for comparing deaths in
Gaza with the victims of the cold-blooded murders of a rabbi and
three young children in France last week.
Polls have shown that no matter who wins the neck-to-neck leadership
contest, the real winner may be Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and
the nationalist camp. All political surveys indicate that Kadima’s
strength in the Knesset would crumble if elections were held today,
no matter who heads the party. Labor, the Likud, and a new party
headed by Yair Lapid would pick up the crumbs.
Apathy hovers over the party, and a low turnout is expected, which
would help Mofaz, a former IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister
who, like Livni, abandoned the Likud and followed then-Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon to from Kadima eight years ago because of Likud
opposition to his “Disengagement” plan to expels Jews from Gaza.
Although rarely mentioned in public, the contest pits an Ashkenazi
woman from the “elite” against Mofaz, the first Sephardi to command
the IDF. She is strong in metropolitan Tel Aviv, the unofficial seat
of the industrial elite, while Mofaz is more popular in outlying
areas, where Sephardi Jews comprise a larger part of the population.
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 03/27/12)
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