Tzippi Livni 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni scored a big political victory on Monday when she
withstood a rebellion in the Kadima faction and succeeded in passing a proposal
to delay discussions about holding a new leadership race until at least
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MKs Shaul Mofaz, Avi Dichter, and Meir Sheetrit, who intend to run
against Livni, demanded a faction meeting about advancing the primary, currently
set for three months before the next general election, which could take place as
late as October 2013. Livni surprised her rivals by calling their bluff and
enabling the debate to take place.
In the debate, MKs took turns
criticizing Dichter for repeatedly accusing Livni of corruption in public
speeches and interviews.
They said his attacks were harming the
Livni’s spokesman said that when Mofaz asked for a vote on holding
the primary in February, she called his bluff again and said she was willing to
hold the vote if he was.
When he held back, she raised a proposal to
defer discussions on primaries until the end of the Knesset’s winter session in
March in order to focus on toppling Netanyahu.
Livni’s opponents did not
participate in the vote, and her proposal passed without opposition, creating
tentative quiet in the party that is now set to last for at least the next five
months until the Knesset returns from its spring recess in May. The long process
of changing Kadima’s constitution to enable advancing the primary won’t begin
until then, making it very unlikely that a primary would be held before the fall
2012 holidays end next October.
“Kadima has embarked on a period of
tranquility in which there will be no worries of primaries,” said Kadima MK
Shlomo Molla, a strong backer of Livni.
Mofaz called Livni’s maneuver
“political thievery” and Dichter said the vote was unfair, because only a
quarter of the faction’s 28 MKs were present for the vote.
They vowed to
continue efforts to unseat Livni, despite the vote.
“It was wrong to use
the Knesset session as an excuse to delay the race,” Dichter said. “Kadima
should fight in the parliament as if there was no internal race and hold the
internal race as if there was no fight in the parliament.”
Dichter faced criticism from Livni opponents in the party for not taking a
stronger stand against her.
“When they go in to the faction room, they
leave their balls outside,” one Livni critic said of the two.
Shamalov Berkovich, who became the first Kadima MK to call for Livni to give up
the party chairmanship six months ago, said Mofaz and Dichter hadn’t yet
internalized that Livni cannot be defeated via standard procedures in party
“They are being too nice,” she said.
polite faction meetings as if it’s a democracy, but you can’t act that way in a
party led by a dictator.”
Shamalov Berkovich said Livni’s behavior was
“forcing us to overthrow her in a hostile takeover” and predicted that Livni
would regret not taking action now to reach a consensus in the faction on a date
for the primary. She expressed disgust with a Livni interview published over the
weekend in which Livni said she could not wait for life after primaries and that
she was only temporarily in politics in order to make peace.
of leader says she hates the Knesset and can’t wait to leave?” Shamalov
Berkovich asked. “I have respect for this place as an emissary. I’m not here to
play a bit part in her making peace and leaving, even if there was someone to
make peace with. What about socioeconomic issues? She has no connection with the
Kadima faction that is made up of socioeconomic people. If you are suffering so
much, why don’t you just leave and go make money and leave behind those of us
who love the people of Israel and want to help them.”