Mofaz bests Livni in Kadima primary, calls for unity (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF 03/28/12)
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MK Shaul Mofaz, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee, will be the fourth head of the Kadima party, having won
61.7 percent of the vote and besting incumbent Tzipi Livni in the
final count after Tuesday´s primary.
Speaking at Kadima Headquarters in Petah Tikva after his victory,
Mofaz called for party unity and invited Livni to work with him to
unseat Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"From tonight, the path to unseating Netanyahu has begun. From
tonight, there is one Kadima," Mofaz said.
"A united and strong Kadima will return Israel to the right path," he
Mofaz promised to work for new socioeconomic agenda, and to get all
Israelis to serve in the army. The latter comment caused several
haredim (ultra-Orthodox) in crowd to leave the room.
Livni called primary Mofaz to congratulate him on his victory earlier
in the night.
"I called Shaul Mofaz, I wished him good luck," Livni said. "These
are the results."
After thanking campaign volunteers, Livni declined to answer a
question over whether she would remain in the party.
"These were two long months and a long day," Livni said, "and I´m
going to sleep."
Former prime minister Ariel Sharon split the Likud and established
Kadima in November 2005. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert replaced
Sharon following his strokes and Livni took over after Olmert was
forced to quit the post due to allegations of corruption.
Sources close to Mofaz said they spoke to all 12 MKs who supported
Livni in the race in recent days and they all said they would remain
in the party under Mofaz’s leadership.
Livni might have hinted about her future when she told reporters at
her campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning that
she “doesn’t believe in opposition inside parties” and that she
formed Kadima and believes in its future.
When she was asked by Army Radio whether she would stay in the party
if she lost, she said, “I am sick of that question. I don’t think the
public cares what happens to me personally if I don’t win. It’s a
subject that only the press cares about.”
The election was marred by a low turnout. Only a little more than 40
percent of the party’s 95,000 members came out to vote on the rainy
day. By contrast, in the first round of voting in September’s Labor
leadership race, the turnout was 67%.
Former prime minister and Kadima leader Ehud Olmert said at the J
Street Conference in Washington that he believes the winner of this
contest could be the next prime minister. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem
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