Dichter rejects calls to quit Kadima race

Mk to remain in race despite poor showing in polls for upcoming Kadima primary.

Mofaz Netanyahu Livni 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Mofaz Netanyahu Livni 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
MK Avi Dichter intends to remain in Tuesday’s Kadima leadership race, despite his poor showing in polls that he himself sponsored, sources close to him said Wednesday.
Dichter has been under pressure to quit from the two main candidates in the race, opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz. While there has been speculation that he will quit on the eve of the primary in order to harm Livni’s chances of winning, his associates said it would not happen.
“Avi is running because he believes in his path, which is different from the other two candidates,” a source close to Dichter said. “While they are pretending that with their 12 seats in the polls they will be prime minister, only he tells the truth and says Kadima needs to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government.
Dichter’s associates said he had especially strong support in his native Ashkelon, among Israeli Arabs and Beduin, and in the kibbutzim and moshavim sector. They admitted his support was not enough to win but said this was not a reason to pull out of the race.
“Underdog is an understatement but he has thousands of people behind him who want him to run,” a Dichter associate said.
A poll sponsored by Dichter found that despite Mofaz’s advantage among key Kadima activists and vote contractors, Livni would win the primary.
His poll, which was conducted by Dialog, had Livni at 36 percent, Mofaz at 25% and Dichter at 11%. The remainder of respondents were undecided or refused to participate.
Another poll of Kadima members was taken this week by Dafna Goldberg- Anaby, who does market research for the Orange cellphone company. She does not support any particular candidate, but took the poll to learn how Kadima members saw the race.
Goldberg-Anaby polled 415 Kadima members representing a statistical sample of gender, religion, age and years in the party. She predicted that there would only be a 39% turnout in the race and that Livni would win.
According to the poll, Livni would win with 46% of the vote, with Mofaz at 37% and Dichter at 9%.
Among people who definitely intend to vote, Livni enjoyed a lead of 51- 38-3% over Mofaz and Dichter.
Another Dialog poll broadcast on Channel 10 Wednesday night found that when respondents were asked who was most qualified to be prime minister, Netanyahu won by a landslide. Neither Livni nor Mofaz posed any threat at all, and the results of the two candidates were similar.