Mofaz still aiming at Kadima leadership

Mofaz courts Kadimas ri

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
November 7, 2009 23:30
2 minute read.

If any doubts remained as to the desire of Kadima's No. 2 - MK Shaul Mofaz - to turn the tables and see himself at the head of the Knesset's largest list, he is likely to assuage them on Sunday morning, when he is to present his foreign policy platform at a press conference. Within Kadima, the latest move is seen as part of a chain of actions by Mofaz in which he is attempting to assert his independence from party chairwoman Tzipi Livni. At the press conference, Mofaz is expected to present a more centrist plan for proceeding with negotiations than that advocated by Livni. Such a plan is likely to be more comfortable for the dozens of Kadima field workers who filled the party's faction meeting last Monday in a show of force interpreted as anti-Livni. "The majority of the field activists are former Likud members," said one Kadima commentator over the weekend, explaining that the activists - if not Kadima voters - would feel more at home with a more right-wing platform. A number of right-leaning, former Likudnik Kadima MKs confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that they had been shown parts of Mofaz's diplomatic platform and asked for their opinions. The platform is likely to call for a renewal of talks in an attempt to reach a temporary agreement with the Palestinian Authority until a Palestinian leadership emerges with which Israel can reach a permanent settlement. In the days leading up to the press conference, Mofaz has also taken clear stances on other issues that will allow him to differentiate himself from Livni. First, on Monday, he broke silence on the issue of Livni's bill to partially divide the authorities of the attorney-general, striking out, together with MK Avi Dichter, against Livni's plan. On Wednesday, Mofaz weighed in on the internal party debate surrounding the inclusion of party activists in the central selection board that compiles the party's Knesset candidates list. Both Mofaz and MK Ruhama Avraham - considered a key Mofaz supporter - sent letters to faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik, as well as copies to fellow faction members and to Livni herself - asking that a debate and even a vote on the issue be held in Monday's faction meeting. Livni, say Kadima officials, is wary of the plan to expand the Kadima council, most likely out of concern regarding field activist's pro-Mofaz sentiments. Mofaz is not the only would-be rebel trying to assert his cause on Sunday. The four Labor rebels - who until now have attempted to sell themselves as "the Group of Four," will officially announce the creation of their "political framework" during an event at Tel Aviv's Tzavta Theater. The four - MKs Ophir Paz-Pines, Yuli Tamir, Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel - will announce the creation of the "Democratic Stage," a political entity that so far falls one lawmaker short of an official Knesset faction. The four invited a number of past and present Labor lights - including recently-resigned Labor faction chief MK Daniel Ben-Simon, who has yet to decide whether or not to throw his lot together with the rebels, but Ben-Simon's attendance - and future allegiance - remains a question.


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