(photo credit: Idan Gross )
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni faced a challenge on Thursday when half of her
faction’s 28 MKs expressed support for a petition demanding transparency over
the party’s budget.
The MKs, led by former Kadima-leadership candidate
Avi Dichter, were upset by a Channel 10 investigation last week that found the
party wastes much of the NIS 22 million in taxpayer funding it receives annually
on bloated administrative salaries, empty party branches, employing vote
contractors who have side jobs, and paying back the party’s NIS 30 million debt
accrued from unwise and unsuccessful municipal campaigns.
said he was embarrassed by the probe, wrote a set of principles for Kadima’s
budget, which he is demanding to present at next Monday’s faction
Kadima MKs were angry when they received a text message last
Sunday night that the following day’s faction meeting was canceled, presumably
because Livni did not want to discuss the investigation.
Ten MKs signed
Dichter’s proposal, including Livni’s rival, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee head Shaul Mofaz, pro-Livni MKs, including Gideon Ezra, and respected
independent MKs like Marina Solodkin.
Four additional MKs did not sign
the proposal, but expressed support for it.
“Our goal is to rehabilitate
how the budget is administered,” Dichter wrote. “The MKs of Kadima are its
sovereign power, and it’s important that our party’s declared goal be achieved:
providing a different, cleaner kind of politics.”
MKs reported being
pressured by Livni’s associates to drop their support for the petition, but
sources close to Livni denied that they called MKs on the matter.
don’t see this as against us,” a Livni associate said. “There are always debates
on the budget in the party. Dichter had a proposal last year, too. It is
legitimate internal debate in the party, and it’s not
Sources close to Livni denied that 10 MKs had signed the
petition, and said those who did meant well.
“This is for Tzipi, not
opposing her,” Solodkin said. “Dichter’s principles make sense. There is no
reason clerks in the party should make more money than MKs. They are not such
geniuses to justify such budgets.”