Dichter, Sheetrit join push to advance Kadima primary

"We need to elect leader soon and not too close to general election when we shouldn't be fighting amongst ourselves," says MK Avi Dichter.

September 27, 2011 21:25
2 minute read.
avi dichter 298 88 aj

avi dichter 298 88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Efforts to pressure Kadima head Tzipi Livni to initiate a leadership race in her party made progress on Tuesday when two of her expected challengers came out publicly in favor of advancing the race.

While Mofaz would not confirm that Sheetrit was speaking for him and his associates said he would not undermine Livni, Dichter told The Jerusalem Post that Kadima needed to hold its leadership race as soon as possible to prepare for the next general election.

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“We should have had our primary a long time ago, but better late than never,” Dichter said. “I told her to hold the election earlier this year, but she didn’t agree. We need to elect a leader soon and not too close to the general election when we we shouldn’t be fighting among ourselves. I hope she will agree for the good of the party.”

Sheetrit said work had to begin immediately on changing the party constitution to allow the primary to be advanced. He expressed frustration that previous attempts to move up the race were stymied.

“The general election can already be in the coming year, so we need to start getting ready,” Sheetrit said.

“Whoever gets elected must be given time after the primary to prepare.”

Livni’s associates said she was considering moving up the primary, but would not reveal whether she had a timetable for her decision.

They said she would decide based on what was best for the party without any connection to Labor’s recent election of MK Shelly Yacimovich as chairwoman and polls showing that Labor had passed up Kadima to become Israel’s secondlargest party after Likud.

A day after a Dialog poll in Haaretz found that Labor would win 22 seats and Kadima just 18 if an election were held now, a Keevoon Strategies poll sponsored by the Post predicted that Labor would win 26 and Kadima 18.

The poll also found that Livni was the only one of the leaders of the four largest parties who is viewed unfavorably by the general public.

While Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel Beiteinu’s Avigdor Lieberman and Yacimovich all had positive ratings, 39 percent viewed Livni positively and 50% negatively.

Livni fared much better in the poll among Kadima voters.

Among those who said they would vote Kadima if a general election were held today, 92% said they viewed her favorably.

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