Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Shaul Mofaz defeated MK Tzipi Livni in Tuesday’s Kadima leadership race by an even larger percentage than early results indicated, according to official numbers released by Kadima on Wednesday.

Mofaz received 24,780 votes, comprising 61.89 percent of the 40,399 votes cast. Livni received 14,857 votes, which was 37.11%. One percent of the total, or 401 votes, were abstentions. The turnout was only 42.22%.

Voting did not strictly follow socioeconomic and ethnic lines. While it was expected that Mofaz would win in the Arab sector and in development towns, he also won in Ashkenazi strongholds like Shoham and Givatayim.

But it was the Arab sector that gave Mofaz his most convincing victories. In the northern town Deir-el-Assad, where his supporter Ahmed Dabah is a former mayor, Mofaz received 1121 votes and Livni only 132. In the northern Arab city Shafaram, Mofaz received 361 votes and Livni just 15.

Livni easily defeated Mofaz in Tel Aviv, 799 to 313. She also beat him in Beit Shemesh. Mofaz narrowly won Jerusalem.

When results started coming in indicating the extent of Mofaz’s victory, Kadima MKs started streaming into the party’s Petah Tikva headquarters. The MKs who supported Mofaz were exuberant in joy. Only some of the MKs who backed Livni showed up.

During his victory speech at 2 a.m., Mofaz made a point of calling up to the stage the MKs and party officials who supported Livni, singling out the head of Kadima’s House Committee, former minister Tzahi Hanegbi.

“From tonight, Kadima is one,” Mofaz told the crowd. “Kadima, which is the Knesset’s largest party, will lead the opposition and renew the hope of a majority of Israel’s citizens for a different path. Kadima is the guarantee that our hope is not lost and that for that hope there is a clear political alternative.”

Mofaz vowed to do everything possible to bring down the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which he said had failed. He called upon Livni to join him and the rest of Kadima in that effort.

“Tzipi, your place is with us,” he said.

Mofaz promised to work toward a new socioeconomic agenda, and to get all Israelis to serve in the army. The latter comment caused several haredim in the crowd to leave the room.

He vowed to do all he could to be worthy of the support he had been given.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger