Mofaz announces candidacy for premiership

“I have never hidden the fact that I will run for the leadership of Kadima. I will win in Kadima and I will win in the general elections,” MK says.

November 13, 2010 20:35
3 minute read.

Mofaz. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file[)

Although the date for the next Knesset elections remains over two years away, MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) announced Saturday night that he expects to be the next prime minister – and, en route, defeat party rival Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni for the party’s leadership. Mofaz’s comments were the latest in a string of events starting last Tuesday that indicated that the competition between Kadima’s two top MKs was anything but resolved.

“I see myself as a candidate for the premiership, and I will get there,” promised Mofaz during an interview on Channel 2 Television’s “Meet the Press”. “I have never hidden the fact that I will run for the leadership of Kadima. I will win in Kadima and I will win in the general elections.”

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Mofaz predicted that “if, by March, there isn’t a national unity government, it will be clear that there is no peace process. And if there is no process, there will be elections. It is just a matter of time – I don’t know how many months afterward the elections will be, but they will come.”

In the mean time, Mofaz toed the party line on the hottest issue threatening to divide Kadima in the coming weeks – the government’s alleged intention to appoint Mofaz to replace Tzahi Hanegbi as chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “I am also in favor of Kadima’s preference to receive the chairmanship of the Economic Affairs Committee,” asserted Mofaz, but then added that “I also think that when we are given the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, we have a certain amount of responsibility.”

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he said “is an important committee, and I am interested in leading it.”  Hanegbi himself pushed for Mofaz’s appointment to lead the committee, during a press conference that the suspended MK held minutes after the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court determined that he had acted with criminal intent in lying under oath.

The former chief-of-staff, and second-runner-up in the 2008 race for Kadima leadership continued to argue that his diplomatic agenda constituted a viable alternative to the current situation, which he described  as a “diplomatic dead end”.

“I travel throughout the country and the world. In Sweden, I presented my plan – for regional peace – and it was greeted with enthusiasm, because people say that it is pragmatic. Regional peace is achievable. The first step on the way is through an interim agreement with the Palestinians,” Mofaz elaborated. “My diplomatic policy is the most significant thing that I have ever taken upon myself.”

One day earlier, Livni also attacked the government’s foreign policy, saying that the government suffers from “political schizophrenia”.

"I heard [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman when he said that whoever thinks it is possible to make peace with Syria is a 'political hypochondriac,'" Livni said during a speech to residents of the Menashe Regional Council. "If we are speaking in terms of psychiatry, I think that a government which one day uses this sort of tone, and on other day speaks about peace with Syria and the Palestinians, is a government that conveys 'political schizophrenia.'"

Livni’s comments came in response to Lieberman's statements during a Thursday speech in the Golan Heights town of Katzrin, in which Lieberman complained that “only a political hypochondriac can say Syria is a peace partner, especially under the current regime."

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