Defiant Kadima celebrates anniversary

PM lashes out at party's critics for their recent "eulogies."

kadima 298 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
kadima 298 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert defiantly marked the anniversary of the formation of his Kadima Party on Monday by lashing out at the party's critics who have been eulogizing it in recent days. Monday marked the day when Olmert's predecessor, former prime minister Ariel Sharon, called the MKs who left Likud with him and officially asked them to join him in the new framework that he had decided to create. The following day he called a press conference to announce the formation of the new party and asked President Moshe Katsav to dissolve the Knesset. "I remember the day in the Knesset a year ago when Arik [Sharon] went and took a step that changed the face of Israeli politics," Olmert told the Kadima faction in the Knesset. "Sharon's decision undoubtedly completely changed the political forces in Israel and created something many people wanted but few believed was possible." Promising a bright future for the party, Olmert said he hoped for "many more years of serving as the dominant party as our rivals get angry and criticize us." Kadima Director-General Yohanan Plessner responded to criticism that the party existed more on paper than in reality by saying Kadima had held more events nationwide over the past few months than any other party in Israel. The faction approved an NIS 22 million budget for the party, enabling the start of a voter registration drive. Despite its high hopes, Kadima has failed to attract people to join the party thus far. Likud Party Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said the founding of Kadima harmed Israeli citizens and led to the attacks on the country from the North and South. He said that people were returning to the Likud path because his party offered solutions to the nation's crises.