Mofaz warns Livni will split Kadima if she loses

Kadima leadership candidate says Livni shouldn't run in elections; Livni responds that her opponent is playing politics.

Shaul Mofaz campaign slogan 150 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Shaul Mofaz campaign slogan 150
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz warned over the weekend that incumbent party head Tzipi Livni intends to break up the party if he defeats her in the March 27 race.
The so-called Mofaz Law, which passed into law in August 2009, enables a group of seven MKs to break off from a faction and form a new one even if they do not constitute a third of the faction’s MKs. It was named for Mofaz, because there was speculation at the time that he would depart Kadima with six allies for Likud.
“Livni is unwilling to say that she would accept the verdict of the voters,” Mofaz said. “MKs who back her have told me openly that she would split Kadima if she loses the primary. If those are her intentions, I don’t think she should be running.”
Sources close to Livni have called Mofaz’s charge political spin and said his accusation was irrelevant because she intends to win the race.
Mofaz is said to have an advantage among the 55,000 Kadima members who were brought into the party by MKs, mayors, unions and key political activists and vote contractors.
Livni is thought to have the support of a large majority of the rest of Kadima’s 95,000 members, who joined the party independently and are seen as less likely to vote.
Livni reacted over the weekend to charges that she had not kept in touch with key Kadima activists loyal to her since the last leadership race in 2008.
“Shaul kept more of a connection with the activists over the past three years than I did,” she said in an interview with Channel 2. “I spent more of my time dealing with the Knesset. I think people appreciate that more than if I would have called them on their birthdays.”
Reacting to criticism that she had failed to take advantage of last summer’s socioeconomic protests to build up support for Kadima, she said, “The demonstrators asked politicians not to come. Their protests came from the grassroots, and that was very important. I did not betray them.”