Mofaz to Livni after primaries win: Your place is with Kadima (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Natasha Mozgovaya, Ophir Bar-Zohar and Jonathan Lis 03/28/12)
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After winning the Kadima primaries contest on Tuesday, new party
chairman, Shaul Mofaz, called on his rival Tzipi Livni to join him in
efforts to pose a serious challenge to the Netanyahu government.
The Iranian-born MK Mofaz, whose long career includes serving as
Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, and as defense minister under
former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, won 61.7 percent of the vote in
Tuesday´s contest - a total of 23,987 votes, while Livni took 37.23
percent - a total of 14,516 votes.
In a speech in response to his victory, Mofaz told those gathered at
the Kadima party headquarters that Kadima would replace the Netanyahu
government in Israel´s next elections, and appealed to Israelis to
have faith in the party´s new journey "to the Israel we lost, that we
dreamt about, that can be different."
He emphasized the need for a strong and united party following the
primaries, and called on Livni to join him in the effort to "return
Israel to the right path."
"Tzipi, you place is with us," he said.
Earlier on Tuesday night, Livni said in response to Mofaz´s
victory, “I am grateful to each and every one of you for the embrace
of faith, preparation and friendship. I believe that the state
deserves the leadership you are worthy of. These are elections, and
these are the results.”
In another speech later on Tuesday night, Livni thanked party members
and citizens for their support, and said that she telephoned Mofaz to
congratulate him on the victory. "These are the results," she said,
adding that she would not be answering any questions, as it had been
a long night, and she was going to sleep.
Former leader of Kadima, Ehud Olmert, who is on a visit to the U.S.,
phoned to congratulate Mofaz on his victory. The two discussed
maintaining unity in Kadima, even after the primaries. The former
prime minister promised to make every effort to help Mofaz to keep
the party united.
Avi Dichter, who dropped out of the Kadima leadership context last
week, said of Mofaz´s victory: “Today there is one winner, the Kadima
party. There is no doubt that the decision to join forces for the
future of Kadima was the right one. “
A relatively small number of Kadima members, much lower than in the
previous leadership contest in 2008, voted in almost 200 ballot boxes
located in over 104 municipalities during the vote on Tuesday. Both
Livni, Kadima’s chairwoman who is seeking reelection, and her rival,
MK Shaul Mofaz, encouraged party members to vote, hoping that higher
participation would increase their chances of winning.
Mofaz voted on Tuesday morning, shortly after the polls opened. He
arrived at the Kfar Sava ballot box, accompanied by his wife Orit,
after visiting his parents’ graves. He was also surrounded by dozens
of supporters who chanted slogans.
“I intend to win the general elections and bring (Prime Minister
Benjamin) Netanyahu down,” Mofaz said. “Our country deserves a new
social agenda, a different government system, equality of civic
duties, and more serious attempts to achieve peace in our region.”
Mofaz said that he intends to cooperate with Livni if he clinches the
top job. “Cooperation is always feasible and desirable as long as it
benefits the people of Israel,” he said. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
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