Livni besieged over party selection process

Livni besieged over part

November 2, 2009 23:40
2 minute read.

Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni had her hands full Monday afternoon during a rancorous faction meeting at which party field workers flooded the room to try and increase their power over party appointments. Livni - who is said to oppose any move to expand the party's central committee - was also forced to answer tough questions from faction members regarding her proposal to divide the authority of the attorney-general. In the minutes before the meeting, party activists milled around inside the room, trying to gather MKs' signatures in support of a proposal to expand Kadima's selection process and make it more similar to that of the Likud's central committee. The current Kadima committee includes 130 members, all of whom have party positions, and does not include any local organizers. One Kadima official argued that such a move would democratize the party, but others expressed concern that it would offer a leg up to Livni's rival MK Shaul Mofaz. Anti-Livni sentiment ran high among party activists during Sunday's Kadima Committee meeting as well. Stickers with the party leader's face that were displayed in the party's headquarters were decorated with anti-Livni comments. But the activists were the least of Livni's challenges Monday as she also sought to quiet MKs' animosity toward her bill on splitting the attorney-general's authority. Kadima MKs were unhappy that they had not been informed of the bill in advance, but had learned about it first via newspapers on Sunday morning. Former public security minister MK Avi Dichter spoke out Sunday against the bill, emphasizing that Livni had not held any hearing on the legislation within the faction. Even MK Shlomo Molla, considered one of Livni's key supporters, blasted the lack of a faction discussion on the bill, as well as the fundamental principle behind it - the division of the attorney-general's powers. And on Monday, Mofaz himself went on record for the first time stating his opposition to the plan. During the meeting, Livni responded to her critics, reiterating her belief that the power to indict elected officials should be separated from the role of providing legal counsel to the government. She argued that the current situation placed the attorney-general in a constant "conflict of interest" and that only through the split could "public corruption be addressed with the full seriousness that it deserves." The Kadima chairwoman also reassured faction members that in spite of assertions to the contrary attributed to Livni confidant MK Yoel Hasson, the bill she had placed before the Knesset was not a Kadima faction bill; rather, it was her own decision, which others in the party did not necessarily have to support.

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