New Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz will formally replace Tzipi Livni as opposition leader at a special ceremony in the Knesset on Monday that was called despite the parliament’s Passover recess.

Prior to the ceremony, Mofaz will convene his faction in the Knesset for the first time since he defeated Livni in last Tuesday’s party primary. Kadima invited the press to the meeting for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

The press was banned from covering Kadima faction meetings following an embarrassing November 2009 meeting in which Mofaz tried unsuccessfully to present his diplomatic plan but Livni kept interrupting him before the cameras.

Following the ceremony, which Livni is not expected to attend, her security guards will be transferred to Mofaz, as will the Audi luxury car that is given to the leader of the opposition. Mofaz will also eventually be given the opposition leader’s office in the Knesset, which, following British tradition, is the farthest office from the plenum of the parliament.

Mofaz already moved over the weekend into Livni’s office at the party’s Petah Tikva headquarters, which she barely used because she worked out of a rented office in a central Tel Aviv tower.

Mofaz decided to immediately cancel the rental, which cost Kadima NIS 25,000 a month.

Kadima director-general Moshe Shehori, who is close to Livni, resigned over the weekend, but Mofaz asked him to stay on until after Passover. Several other Kadima officials who are close to Livni are expected to be replaced, but Mofaz decided not to fire anyone before the holiday.

“He can wait to clean house until after Passover,” a Mofaz associate said.

Mofaz announced over the weekend that he intends to give up his post as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The committee is supposed to be transferred to the Likud in May in return for the Knesset Economics Committee.

The Likud may try to block the switch because the Economics Committee could be used to fight the government, especially if last year’s socioeconomic protests return this summer.

Mofaz, who is refocusing Kadima on socioeconomic issues, wants the committee chaired by a former Kadima minister, such as Meir Sheetrit or Ruhama Avraham.

There is also a possibility that he will keep the committee for himself.

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