Anti-Livni majority solidifies in Kadima

Additional pro-Mofaz MK may enter Knesset.

Tzippi Livni 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Tzippi Livni 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni is expected to lose her majority in the 28-MK Kadima faction for the first time on Wednesday, in a major blow to her reelection chances in the March 27 party primary.
MK Eli Aflalo’s resignation from the Knesset will take effect at 11:45 a.m. and Mofaz’s campaign chief, Avi Duan, will be sworn in shortly thereafter.
Later on Wednesday, MK Ya’acov Edri will meet with Livni and apparently tell her that he will support Mofaz.
While Livni will still have 13 MKs in her favor after that compared to 12 who back Mofaz, potential leadership candidates Avi Dichter and Meir Sheetrit give the anti- Livni camp a majority.
Dichter, who has been Livni’s fiercest critic in the faction, says he is running in the race. Sheetrit said on Tuesday night that he would decide whether to run next week.
MK Ruhama Avraham-Balila announced her intention to support Mofaz in a letter she wrote to Livni on Tuesday morning.
Avraham-Balila wrote that she “has never avoided making decisions and this time I believe I have chosen a position I believe in and can stand behind fully.”
She said she came to the decision to support Mofaz, due to his “experience, knowledge and ability to make the decisions necessary for us.”
Addressing Livni, Avraham- Balila said she is convinced that the party leader and other members of Knesset who chose to support Livni’s positions will play a central role in reuniting the party after the primary.
“Unconditionally accepting the voters’ choice is a basic condition for candidacy,” she wrote.
It is likely that Duan will not be the only new MK who backs Mofaz.
The next name on the Kadima list after Duan is Ramat Hasharon Development Company CEO Yuval Zellner, who was Mofaz’s campaign manager in his race against Livni for the party leadership in 2008.
MK Gideon Ezra, who backs Livni, is extremely ill from lung cancer, which he contracted from smoking at least 40 cigarettes a day, every day, for 55 years. Another scenario that could bring Zellner into the Knesset is Mofaz winning the race and Livni exercising her threat to quit politics.
“I would be happy to enter the Knesset, but right now I am happy with my current job,” Zellner said. “I hope the MKs will be healthy, Mofaz wins, and Tzipi Livni stays and continues to serve the party for many years.”
Michael Omer-Man contributed to this report.