Livni sets Kadima primaries for March 27

Opposition leader says "only Kadima under my authority can defeat PM"; Mofaz: Livni finished role as Kadima leader today.

MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni announced that Kadima will hold primaries for the party's leadership on March 27 during a Wednesday morning press-conference.
This primary will not only decide who will head Kadima but whether the Netanyahu government can be overthrown," Livni said. "We cannot allow this government to stay in power. Only Kadima under my authority can defeat Netanyahu and prevent him from forming another government with his coalition partners."
Livni responded to poor showings by Kadima in recent polls, accepting responsibility for the trend.
"I start with myself. I am human and I make mistakes," Livni stated. "Running the opposition isn't easy."
A "Panels" Institute poll conducted by the Knesset Channel earlier this month revealed that anchorman-turned politician Yair Lapid would receive 20 mandates, while Kadima would receive just nine if he were to run on a new party list.
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Livni said Wednesday that,  "going to the opposition showed our voters that we don't sell our principles. We won't sell them out to natural [coalition] partners. I can understand people feeling disappointed because what we have tried to pass has been defeated by a destructive coalition."
Livni expressed confidence that Kadima supporters who had questioned the party would come back when she was reelected.
Candidate for the leadership of Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz responded to Livni's decision to advance the primaries, saying Livni had "finished her role as the leader of Kadima today."
Livni, who had resisted attempts by her rivals to advance the primaries, was forced to reconsider her position when journalist and anchorman Yair Lapid announced his intention to enter politics earlier this month, Mofaz said.
Mofaz attacked Livni, saying her "stammering behavior" had caused "great damage" to the party.
The former defense minister expressed confidence that he would win Kadima's primary and replace Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when the general election was held.
Labor Leader Shelly Yachimovich attacked also Livni's assertion that she was the one who could topple Netanyahu, calling it "ridiculous" and "out of touch."
"Kadima is dangerous and conflicted, has no ideology and has come to the end of its political journey," she said. "The party never realized its goals, and is capitalist and anti-social."
"Labor remains a united governmental alternative, social democratic, for a fair economy, social justice and state responsibility for its citizens," she affirmed.