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Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni offered Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz the chairmanship of Kadima's election campaign on Thursday in an effort to make amends with her vanquished party rival, but Mofaz's associates said he was unlikely to accept the post.
The 75-minute meeting between Livni and Mofaz came amid attempts in Kadima to find legal methods to reserve the second slot on the party's list for Mofaz without forcing him to run. Mofaz's associates said that unless those efforts bore fruit, he would apparently not be willing to devote his time to promoting the party at what could be his own expense.
"Mofaz has a thousand reasons not to accept the job," a source close to the minister said following a meeting with him. "Everything is still up in the air, but so far all he has heard from Livni is inconsequential blather."
The Mofaz camp in Kadima wants Livni to publicly proclaim that Mofaz would receive the party's second-best ministry in any potential government and the post of vice prime minister under Livni if Kadima wins the race. They said that such a proclamation was important, because with Livni as Kadima's number one and without Mofaz number two, the Likud can attack the party as too left-wing.
"If Mofaz would have beaten Livni by 400 votes instead of the other way around, he definitely would have reserved the second slot for her and he wouldn't have used any legal technicalities as an excuse to avoid it," a Mofaz associate said. "When Kadima's leaders were interested in changing the party's bylaws before, they found a way to do it. It's right for Kadima and Labor to have unity and that can only happen if Livni and Mofaz can join hands."
Livni's associates said she would do anything legally possible to ensure that the second slot would be reserved for Mofaz. They said the high profile campaign manager post could only help Mofaz politically.
The two are expected to meet again at the beginning of next week. The Kadima leader told Mofaz Thursday that even if he were forced to run and did not become number two on the list, it would not impact the government she planned to assemble if she would win.
On Tuesday night it was reported that several activists who supported Mofaz for Kadima chairman had threatened to "ruin" all of Livni's supporters - MKs and ministers - in the upcoming primary by omitting them from their rankings for the candidates list. Livni's associates said Mofaz had to do more to publicly deny such reports.
Livni met with Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, who told her he would not run for Knesset and that he would end his short-lived and controversial political career as soon as a new government is formed.
She also met with Vice Premier Haim Ramon, who is reportedly leaning toward running.
Meanwhile, in the Likud, sources confirmed a Channel 2 report that opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu met with National Union MK Effi Eitam about joining the Likud. Netanyahu's associates said he would likely turn down Eitam because the former IDF brigadier general is seen as too extreme.
However, the sources said Netanyahu had no problem having what is seen by some in the party as a surplus of former generals. Netanyahu is expected to make a decision next week about whether to seek his party's backing for a reserved slot on its list for former IDF chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon.
Ya'alon would join former generals Uzi Dayan and Yossi Peled, who recently joined the party, as well as security minded MK Yuval Steinitz and apparently former justice minister Dan Meridor, who wrote the IDF's security doctrine.
Likud sources said Netanyahu would likely ask the Likud central committee to allow him to reserve three slots on the list for Ya'alon, Meridor and his party rival Silvan Shalom.
"We need good people," a senior Likud source said. "It didn't hurt Labor when they had that many generals on their list. It certainly beats having a list of garbage." â€¢