Livni: Netanyahu 'puny politican'

Mofaz: Party's problems can't be swept under the rug.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 25, 2010 03:20
2 minute read.
Kadima head Tzipi Livni.

Livni 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Opposition leader Tzipi Livni escalated her attacks on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Wednesday’s Kadima Council meeting at the party’s Petah Tikva headquarters, calling him a “puny politician.”

In a meeting called to mark the anniversary of the February 2009 election, in which Kadima won the most seats but nonetheless fell from power, Livni said the government was being run clumsily.

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She accused Netanyahu of being obsessed with splitting Kadima.

“I have no way of explaining why the prime minister, who has a wide enough coalition, doesn’t stop trying to break up our party,” Livni said. “He sees the MKs he negotiated with as puny politicians. A man who sees politicians that way is not a leader but a puny politician.”

While Livni praised the Kadima MKs who negotiated with Netanyahu for “not giving in to enticements,” she said the negative attention they brought the party made the public lose faith in Kadima.

“There is a Kadima that is loyal to its principles and voters, which has nothing to apologize for,” Livni said. “But there has also been another Kadima that gave a negative feeling to our voters, that stooped and collapsed internally. This will stop from now on.

“I wont stoop, as I haven’t yet, to low political games. That’s what the other parties do. The public is sick of those other parties and we will not emulate them.”

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In a message to party rivals Shaul Mofaz and Avi Dichter, who spoke immediately before her, Livni ruled out advancing the next leadership race in the party.

“Kadima will only choose its leader ahead of the next Knesset election, period,” she said.

Mofaz criticized Livni for not establishing a diplomatic plan for the party and for negotiating the fate of Jerusalem in the previous government. He said that most Kadima members opposed dividing Jerusalem and that keeping the capital united should be the party’s policy.

After months of pushing for the advancement of the Kadima primary, Mofaz toned down his demand and rephrased it as a call for compromises in the party. He warned that Livni would destroy the party if she refused to change Kadima’s constitution.

Mofaz vowed to remain in Kadima and lead the party to victory in the next election.

“Kadima fell into a crisis due to a lack of leadership at a difficult time,” Mofaz said. “The result was MKs who negotiated to leave. This caused a rift in the party that cannot be swept under the rug.

“The fight about primaries is not done. I support compromising and bringing more democracy and transparency in Kadima. Compromise is the right way.”

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