Mofaz considers canceling Kadima primary

Kadima MKs split on whether selection committee would help or harm the party in the upcoming election.

Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) is considering canceling his party’s primary in favor of a selection committee that would decide who was on the list for the next Knesset, Kadima sources said on Wednesday.
Mofaz will not make a final decision until after the Knesset is dissolved next week and is weighing the pros and cons of each method. Should he decide to appoint a selection committee, Mofaz would have to change Kadima regulations, which would require approval from MKs and the party’s central committee.
“We want what is good for the state, which is a strong Kadima,” Mofaz said, when asked his considerations in examining the two possibilities.
Meanwhile, Kadima MKs are split on whether a committee would help or harm the party, with Mofaz’s closest allies speaking out against holding a primary.
One Kadima MK said that people’s opposition to a selection committee could only come from fear that they would not make it to the top of the party’s list.
“At this time, a committee is the right thing to do. Elections are very soon, and we should try to create a better, higherquality list to bring back our voters,” party MK Ze’ev Bielski said.
Since polls show Kadima shrinking to a third or less of its current 28 seats, Bielski said the faction must recognize reality and be prepared to make sacrifices for the good of the party.
Fellow Kadima MK Yuval Zellner added that “now is not the time for internal wars. We need to be united to face other parties.”
Zellner and Bielski estimated that most of the party’s faction would favor canceling the primary, a claim that MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), a Mofaz ally who supports a selection committee, countered.
“Party members won’t like it, and MKs will think of their personal gain and oppose it, but if we’re thinking of the good of the party, then there should be a committee,” Tirosh said. “I would do well in a primary, but I don’t think Kadima should waste time, energy and money that we don’t have. It should go into the nationwide race.”
Tirosh also denied claims that primaries were more democratic, saying that money and back-room deals played a huge part in them.
MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) adamantly opposed a selection committee, saying that while the primary system had problems, it was better and more democratic.
“Who are the wizards putting together this magic list of good, experienced, electable people that will get us more votes?” he asked. “Who is on the committee? The problem with committees is that they’re meant to serve someone’s interests.”
Shai also described a committee as a betrayal to Kadima members who paid to join the party in order to have an influence and determine its list.
He denied that a primary would cause in-fighting, saying that people would argue even more after the committee formed a list, because anyone not in the top 10 spots would not be satisfied.
“A committee is a big mistake, and it is immoral,” he concluded.
Several major parties in the Knesset choose their candidates via committee, including Yisrael Beytenu, as well as Shas and United Torah Judaism, whose lists are compiled by rabbis.