MK Shaul Mofaz beats MK Tzipi Livni for the leadership of the Kadima
party, wins a majority of 61.7%.
MK Shaul Mofaz was elected on Tuesday to be the new chairman of the
Kadima party. Mofaz beat his rival MK Tzipi Livni, who has headed the
party since 2008, and will assume the position of opposition leader.
According to final results, as announced by the Chairwoman of
Kadima’s Election Committee, Judge Edna Beckenstein, Mofaz received
23,987 votes making 61.7 percent of the vote, and Livni received
14,516 votes making up 37.2 percent.
Shortly after the judge´s announcement, Mofaz made his victory speech
in which he said, “This evening Kadima won, and I thank each of you
for your support.”
Mofaz, who invited Livni’s supporters to join him on stage,
said, “This evening marks the emergence of the alternative government
to the bad government of Binyamin Netanyahu. Out of this evening
comes out one Kadima, Kadima which is the largest party in the
Knesset, the leader of the opposition which renews the hope of most
of Israel’s citizens.”
Directly addressing Livni, Mofaz said, “I call on Livni to stand with
us in this war. I want to say from this podium to Tzipi Livni: Tzipi,
you belong with us.”
The polls closed at 10:00 p.m. Israel time and as of 9:00 p.m. only
about 38 percent of party members exercised their right to vote in
the primary. Analysts predicted earlier that a low turnout would
likely play out in Mofaz’s favor.
Shortly after 1:00 a.m., Livni made a short statement to the media
and said, “I want to thank the volunteers and all the members of
Kadima who gave me their trust.”
Livni said that she called Mofaz and congratulated him on his victory
but refused to answer questions, saying, “It is late at night and
time to go to sleep.” She added that she does not currently intend to
make announcements regarding her political future.
Kadima faction chairman, MK Dalia Itzik, also called Mofaz and
congratulated him on his victory. Itzik said that she hopes that
Livni will remain in 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