Mofaz meets with Lieberman

Livni rules out compromising with political rivals.

Tzipi Livni 311 Ariel J (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Tzipi Livni 311 Ariel J
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni ruled out compromising with her political rivals about when the next party leadership race will be held, in a defiant speech to her faction at the Knesset on Monday.
MKs Shaul Mofaz and Avi Dichter have been pressuring Livni to advance the primary, which is currently set for August 2013, while the Likud has tried to entice Mofaz to split Kadima if Livni refuses to advance the primary.
Livni vowed not to give in to the pressure. She said the earliest she would allow the primary to take place would be October 2012.
“If the good of Kadima justifies advancing the primary, I will agree,” she said. “I will not authorize any [earlier] date, which would only encourage intra-party fighting and personal mudslinging instead of struggling against the government and advancing the issues we believe in.”
Livni blasted MKs for fighting about the timing of the leadership in the press. She declined to respond directly to a fierce attack on her delivered by Dichter in the Yisrael Hayom newspaper.
“Tzipi Livni cares only about her personal good and not about the good of the party,” Dichter said. “Livni will have a difficult time explaining to all of us if she fails to prevent a split in the party.”
Dichter said he was angry that she was unwilling to compromise on a date for the primary. He said that her decision to schedule the race for “a year before the next general election” was deceptive, because the date of a general election is not known.
“That’s not serious,” Dichter said. “She is throwing sand in our eyes and pissing on us from a diving board.”
Livni said alternative proposals for when the primary should be held could be brought to the faction for a vote. Dichter’s proposal to hold the primary at the beginning of 2011 is also expected to be raised in February 24’s Kadima council meeting.
Mofaz might use the meeting to raise a proposal by the Likud for Kadima to join the government, amid reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wanted 15 Kadima MKs to enter the coalition as an insurance policy should the 15-member Israel Beiteinu faction leave.
Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman denied that he had any intention of leaving, speaking in a meeting of his faction at the Knesset on Monday. He called the report that he planned to leave the government in October “lies and distortions.”
“I have no intention to leave in 15 months or 35,” he said. “We will be the last party to leave. This is the most stable coalition possible. I think it will last its entire term like the government of Golda Meir.”
Lieberman met one-on-one with Mofaz at the Knesset and discussed political and security issues. Spokespeople for the two said the meeting was planned well in advance and was not set due to the events of the day.