MK Mofaz 260.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Sources in the Kadima faction close to Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz accused opposition leader Tzipi Livni on
Wednesday of encouraging Bat Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani to enter the Kadima
leadership race in order to harm Mofaz.
Livni permitted Lahiani to run
even though he has not been a member of Kadima for the required 13 months. The
sources said Livni’s goal was to take away Sephardi voters who back
Lahiani said he would make the decision whether to run by Monday’s
deadline for entering the race.
Livni rejected the
“Nothing of the sort even entered my mind,” she said. “I
would let anyone run because we live in a democracy and our party is
Livni’s associates said there was no need to pull such a
stunt, because according to an automated telephone poll taken by the Kadima
campaign, 55 percent of Kadima members support her and only 13% back Mofaz. The
rest are undecided.
Lahiani acknowledged that the ongoing criminal
investigation he is facing on suspicion of bribery, fraud, breach of trust by a
public servant and money laundering “clearly doesn’t help” his chances of
He said another reason not to run was that his family
vigorously opposes him entering national politics.
But Lahiani said he
wanted to change the country’s priorities.
Lahiani expressed confidence
he could beat Livni and Mofaz and even defeat Prime Minister Binyamin
“I can give Bibi a fight better than Shaul and Tzipi,” he