Yacimovich blasts Livni meeting with Olmert

Labor leader: Lapid, Livni seek blessing of man investigated for terrible crimes; poll: Kadima voters prefer Livni to Mofaz by 50%.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
January 19, 2012 22:56
2 minute read.
Labor head MK Shelly Yacimovich

Labor chairwoman MK Shelly Yacimovich 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert promised not to endorse any candidate in the March 27 Kadima primary in a controversial meeting at his Tel Aviv office Thursday with opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

Olmert has been quoted recently expressing support for Livni’s chief rival, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz. But Olmert has since decided to remain neutral in the race.

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Journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid also consulted with Olmert before he decided to enter politics two weeks ago. Olmert has also met recently with Mofaz.

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich blasted all three politicians for meeting with Olmert, who is facing multiple indictments in corruption scandals.

“Lapid, and now Livni, are shamelessly embarking on pilgrimages to Olmert to get the blessing of a man being investigated for terrible crimes,” Yacimovich said. “It sends the wrong message to our children.”

Former police investigations chief Moshe Mizrahi, who is running for a Knesset seat with Labor added that “it’s important that the public knows who has been adopted as a spiritual leader by Livni and Lapid. Who preaches clean politics?” Livni and her strategists met Thursday night at her Tel Aviv home with 10 Kadima MKs who support her candidacy. Mofaz met with supporters in the North.

Polls broadcast Thursday found that Kadima voters preferred Livni over Mofaz by a wide margin.

A Panel poll broadcast on the Knesset Channel found that the general public preferred Livni 22 to 15 percent, but Kadima voters favored Livni 72% to 22%.

A Maagar Mohot poll broadcast on Channel 10 found that the general public preferred Livni 28% to 15%, but Kadima voters favored Livni 34% to 24%. The poll predicted that Kadima would win 13 seats under Livni and nine under Mofaz.

The Panels poll, which did not specify who would lead Kadima, predicted that it would fall from being the Knesset’s largest party to only its fifth, behind Likud, Labor, Israel Beiteinu and Lapid’s party.

Neither of the polls were among the 100,000 Kadima members who will be eligible to vote in the primary. But Livni’s spokesman said he expected the members to take the polls into account.

“The members cannot ignore the clear majority Tzipi enjoys among Kadima voters and MKs,” he said. “This is not a meter-technical issue but a key matter of principle.”

Mofaz’s associates said many of the people identified as Kadima voters in the last election no longer backed the party. They downplayed Mofaz’s poor showing and emphasized that Livni had brought the party down from 28 seats to only 13.


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