|EHUD OLMERT 370.(Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)|
Olmert endorses Kadima, still may run in election
By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN
Former PM agrees to serve on Kadima committee that will decide list for election; associate says "all options on the table."
The Center-Left of the political camp became even more complicated on Wednesday
when former prime minister Ehud Olmert endorsed Kadima and agreed to serve on
the committee that will decide its list for the January 22
Olmert’s associates said his participation in the committee
would have no impact on his decision about whether to run, which would only be
made when he returns from his visit to the United States next Tuesday. Lists of
candidates must be submitted to the central elections committee by next
“As long as he has not chosen one of his options, all options
continue to be on the table in one way or another,” an Olmert associate said.
The former prime minister made a point of endorsing Kadima the day after former
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni returned to politics at the helm of a new party, the
Tzipi Livni Party. The endorsement was seen as a sign that there is still life
to the party that both Olmert and Livni once headed.
“I am sorry she
divided the Center rather than uniting it,” Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz said. “I
offered her any job, including number 2 in Kadima and a key role together
leading Kadima and she was unwilling to take it. She should have accepted the
results of the leadership race and she should be helping us.”
received bad news on Wednesday when a Dialog poll published in Haaretz found
that her new party would receive only seven seats if elections were held now. A
day after she declared herself the only possible alternative to Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, only 21 percent of respondents said she was fit to be prime
minister compared to 66% for Netanyahu.
Only six MKs in Kadima have left
for the Tzipi Livni Party.
Despite her efforts to draft MKs Yohanan
Plesner and Doron Avital, they instead went to Kadima’s faction meeting
Wednesday night and declared their allegiance to the party.
drafts a seventh Kadima MK, her new party will receive NIS 9 million in party
funding from Kadima. If six MKs join, they will not be able to bring any funding
Likud minister Dan Meridor, who failed to win a realistic slot
on the party’s next Knesset list, denied reports that he was seeking a slot on
Meridor will be spending the next few days with Livni at
the Saban Forum in Washington.
The only new candidate whom Livni’s
spokeswoman could confirm had joined the party on Wednesday was former IDF
Women’s Corps head Israela Oron, who is a former deputy head of the National
Former Labor leader Amram Mitzna would not confirm
reports that he had been offered the second or third slot on Livni’s list and
that he had demanded that anti-haredi activist Boaz Nol be left off the
Labor MK Isaac Herzog said that when Mitzna ran for Labor leader,
he signed a letter committing himself to respect the results of the
“I advise Mitzna to reconsider his decision, which would harm the
Labor-led Center-Left in the election,” Herzog said.