Livni rivals to push for Kadima primary

“Kadima must get ready for the next general election, and that requires holding a primary ASAP," Mofaz, Dichter and Sheetrit say.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
November 28, 2011 02:55
2 minute read.
Tzippi Livni

Tzippi Livni 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Efforts to persuade Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni to initiate a primary for the party’s leadership are expected to intensify on Monday when her political rivals raise the issue at Kadima’s faction meeting at the Knesset.

Party MKs Shaul Mofaz, Avi Dichter, and Meir Sheetrit, who all ran against Livni in 2008, wrote faction head Dalia Itzik on Friday, asking her to devote Monday’s meeting to hearing what the MKs in the faction thought about when the race should be held.

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“Kadima must get ready for the next general election, and that requires holding a primary as soon as possible on a date the faction will agree upon,” the three former ministers wrote.

Thirteen Kadima legislators – nearly half the 28-member faction – have signed a letter calling for the primary to be held as soon as possible. While Mofaz would be satisfied if the race were held as late as May, Itzik said she preferred holding it already in February.

“I support holding the election and deciding who our leader will be,” she said. “We will indeed hold a proper forum on the matter in the faction soon.”

Livni’s spokesman said she would have no problem if Mofaz, Dichter or Sheetrit raised the issue on Monday.

“We don’t prevent MKs from talking about anything,” he said.

But a source close to Dichter called such talk “hypocritical” and said his boss had been trying unsuccessfully to raise the issue for six months in faction meetings conducted in what he called “Soviet style.”

Dichter criticized Livni for saying in a fluffy weekend interview with Yediot Aharonot that she couldn’t wait to end her political career.

“This isn’t my profession,” Livni told interviewer Dana Spector. “Until today, even though I sometimes enjoy [politics], I know it’s really not me, that there is another life for me, and I am really waiting, waiting, waiting for an alternative life the day after.”

Dichter told Israel Radio that Livni’s interview was “insulting” to members of the party, while another Livni critic in Kadima said the statement was “the opposite of prime ministerial.”

The party’s deputy faction head, MK Nachman Shai, defended Livni, saying that even though he didn’t like the statement, she had a tough job and he understood where she was coming from.


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