Avi Dichter 311 AJ.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
MK Avi Dichter on Sunday announced his candidacy in the Kadima party
primaries, challenging party leader Tzipi Livni and contender Shaul
Mofaz for the chairmanship. The former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)
chief said if he won, he would immediately begin bringing Kadima into
the ruling coalition.
At a press conference held at the
Kadima party headquarters, Dichter lamented what he described as
Kadima's deterioration in the past three years. "Our influence in
central issues was zero, even though we (make up) one fourth of the
Knesset," he said.
If he wins the primary election, Dichter said,
he would immediately begin intensive talks with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu to find the right way to increase Kadima's influence on
central issues. A party as large as Kadima, he said, cannot remain
outside the government.
Kadima is the largest party in the
Knesset but was unable to form a majority government, a task given by
President Shimon Peres to Netanyahu, who was able to enlist enough
smaller right-wing parties to form a coalition.
Last month, Livni
announced that primaries would be held on March 27, following announced
primaries in Likud, which Netanyahu strongly won.
will not only decide who will head Kadima but whether the Netanyahu
government can be overthrown," Livni said. She has long opposed joining
the current government.
Mofaz, late last month, ruled out forming
a unity government with Netanyahu and said he would reserve a central
post in the party for Livni, should he become chairman.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.