Livni confident she can win elections

Mofaz lashes out at both Livni and Barak, says "they are both right" in their criticisms of each other.

livni dignified 224  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
livni dignified 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
With one month left before the Kadima Party primaries, front-runners Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz held meetings over the weekend to flex their political muscles, showing off their strong support bases. "These elections are a vote for the image and future of Kadima, and afterwards, for the future of Israel. We can return Kadima to what it should have been, and we must not ignore the fact that we have been given a second chance to do so. Today we have the opportunity to fulfill the dream that we had when we established Kadima," Livni said at a Friday afternoon meeting during which she met with leading political figures who had already cast their support with her. Among those gathered at the meeting Friday was a new - and welcome - face in the Livni camp, Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski. In addition to assessing her currently front-running status, dividing up tasks and planning activities, Livni urged her supporters to look forward, not just at the upcoming primaries but at the next elections down the road. "Kadima represents, in my eyes, the wide common agreement in Israel - in terms of diplomatic, economic and social policy," said Livni. "We are going to win twice - inside Kadima and afterwards, in the general elections, whenever they may be." Mofaz, too, did not waste valuable weekend hours, but spent Saturday night campaigning at an event in the Druse city of Daliat al-Carmel. During his Saturday evening speech he attacked both Defense Minister Ehud Barak as well as Livni in front of a group of Druse community elders and leaders. "They are both right [in their criticism of each other.] Barak failed as prime minister and as Labor chairman, and Livni doesn't have enough experience to lead the government. We've already done enough experiments on this matter, we have paid a heavy price and I don't have the privilege of carrying out another experiment," warned Mofaz highlighting Livni's lack of defense experience. "Kadima members know that we will continue to lead the country with responsibility and consideration, and we will strive to achieve peace without selling our national and strategic assets," Mofaz said, intimating his disapproval with recent negotiations with Syria and the Palestinian Authority. "To reach achievements such as these and to ensure the future and security of Israel, strong leadership is needed, leadership that knows to guide with experience and ability, to make decisions even when they are difficult ones." But while the Kadima front-runners campaigned, Barak continued to launch broadsides against the party as a whole. On Friday, the Labor chairman launched a scathing verbal attack on Kadima and the contenders for the party's chairmanship, only two days after similar statements evoked harsh criticism of Barak from within his own party. "Despite the challenges facing Israel and decisions that must be made, the Kadima contenders could not even reach a decision on primaries in their party without the Labor Party's intervention," Barak said during a meeting of the party's Tel Aviv district, asserting that he was best fitted to lead the country. "What we need is dedicated leadership - no marketing gimmick can cover up the need for such experienced leadership. You know I have it." Barak went on to assert that Kadima was a "temporary party," adding that "what the public needs is a broad emergency government."