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
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.
to immediately cancel the rental, which cost Kadima NIS 25,000 a
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.
can wait to clean house until after Passover,” a Mofaz associate
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
Mofaz, who is refocusing Kadima on socioeconomic issues, wants
the committee chaired by a former Kadima minister, such as Meir Sheetrit or
There is also a possibility that he will keep the
committee for himself.