Kadima MKs debated whether to advance their party's leadership race in a closed-door session for an hour and forty-five minutes on Thursday without realizing that a transcript of the session was being published online as they spoke.The party's house committee discussed the divisive issue at Kadima's Petah Tikva headquarters until the committee chairman, MK Tzahi Hanegbi, was told that every word said in the room was on a Web site run by Kadima activists called Yallakadima. Hanegbi promptly ended the meeting and announced that the debate would continue on an undisclosed date.
During the session participants spoke candidly about whether it was wise to hold a leadership race in 2010 or closer to the date of the next general election, which is currently set for November 2013, but whose actual date is uncertain. Kadima leader Tzipi Livni made a point of absenting herself from the debate about her own political future. But her ally, Kadima council chairman Haim Ramon, warned that choosing a party leader now could be a "colossal mistake" because it would leave too much time to lose the leader's luster."If we choose a leader now, the leader could be reeling on the floor by the time an election takes place," warned Ramon, who was backed up by MKs Shlomo Mula and Majallie Whbee.MK Shaul Mofaz proposed that if Kadima's leader is prime minister, a leadership race should be held six to nine months before a general election, but if not, it should be held no later than 16 months after the last election, which would mean June 2010. He called upon Livni to commit to remaining in the party if she lost."The primaries must unite the ranks of the party, so everyone who runs must promise to stay in the party," Mofaz said. MK Otniel Schneller called for July primaries, MK Avi Dichter said primaries should be held between June and October, MK Ze'ev Boim favored the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011 and MK Ronit Tirosh called for the race to be held two years after the last general election, which would be in February 2011.MK Ruhama Avraham summed up the feelings of many in the room when she said, "This discussion is destroying the party."