Kadima leadership election, 2012
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In November 2011, the three candidates opposed to Tzipi Livni in 2008 called for a primary to be held as soon as possible, citing the probability of Knesset elections soon. Livni said that candidates were welcome to bring up the issue at a party meeting. Livni said in an interview that she was not interested in politics. Prior opponent Avi Dichter responded that her statement was insulting to party members. Another Kadima MK called the remarks "the opposite of prime ministerial." Livni said that candidates were welcome to bring up the issue at a party meeting. However, at the meeting Livni maneuvered to delay the primary for several months. Finally, on 19 January 2012, Livni set the primary date for 27 March 2012. A Haaretz article stated that the campaign will likely involve mudslinging and personal attacks that could further damage the party's standing.
At a campaign rally, Livni was confident and said that Kadima under her leadership was best poised to defeat the incumbent Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu. Mofaz countered that Livni was weak and he would be better able to oppose Moshe Feiglin's influence in Knesset. Dichter said that Livni has harmed the party and a new leader is needed. An 18 January Maagar poll supported Livni's claim with Kadima winning four more seats under Livni than Mofaz. However, neither could take the party to victory. Former prime minister and Kadima leader Ehud Olmert declined to endorse any candidate.
At a press conference, Mofaz said his first priority will be to ensure there is "one law for everyone". He lowered his criticism of his opponent and said he would offer her a position if he was prime minister. Citing his four decades of military service and participation in four wars, he said that he would "make the utmost effort to achieve peace with [Israel's] neighbors". He also said that non-participation in the military service was a growing problem and that Israel must reform its system of governance. Previously in support of unity, Mofaz declined to join a Netanyahu government. He was confident that he could change the course of Kadima and take it to victory.
Livni picked up the endorsements of 12 MKs and two party functionaries, while Mofaz received endorsements of 10 MKs. At meeting to support Mofaz, one MK said that Mofaz is "a new candidate who can bring new audiences" and compared him to new Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, who gained the national polls once she had settled in as party leader. Both candidates have significant support, leading to some speculation that the party may split after the primary. However, Livni backers were confident that she will win and mocked the support for Mofaz as "[going] shopping". They also claimed that a vote for Mofaz is a vote for a split. Livni reiterated this claim in an interview with Haaretz and admitted mistakes with handling the party several years ago.
Mofaz supporters accused Livni of encouraging Bat Yam mayor Shlomo Lahiani to join the race in order to split the Sefardi vote. Livni denied the accusation. Lahiani said his family did not want him to run, but he wanted to change the priorities of Israel. He was confident that he could beat Mofaz and Livni, and even take Kadima to victory over Likud. However, Lahiani ultimately decided not to run.
Originally rejecting calls for him to withdraw from the race, Dichter dropped out five days prior to the primary, and endorsed Mofaz.
- Declined or Withdrawn
- Avi Dichter, former Internal Security Minister
- Shlomo Lahiani, mayor of Bat Yam
- Meir Sheetrit, former Minister of the Interior
|Maagar||18 January 2012||24%||15%||9%||2%||46%|
- The first poll is of Kadima voters. The second poll is of likely primary voters.
List of Tzipi Livni endorsements
List of Shaul Mofaz endorsements
Polls closed at 22:00, but results were not in until 01:00 the next day. Mofaz defeated Livni 62.3% to 37.7%, but invited her to remain in the party in his victory speech. Livni called Mofaz to congratulate him and thanked her supporters in a concession speech.
Likud MK Ofir Akunis wished Mofaz a long career as opposition leader and said Kadima was "at the end of its journey". Fellow Likud MK Danny Danon criticized the "left-wing" views of Mofaz, such as his plan to return the borders of Israel to the Green Line. Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On also congratulated Mofaz, but said his victory proves Kadima is a "centre-right" party. Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich also congratulated Mofaz, said he was worthy of the job, and said Labor was the only true opposition party. United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni blamed Livni's loss on her criticism of Haredi Jews, while National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari said Mofaz can credit his victory to Arab voters and that he was now indebted to them.
|Kadima leadership election, 2012|
|Tzipi Livni (i)||
- "Livni moves up Kadima primary elections to March 27". Ynetnews. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- Hoffman, Gil (28 November 2011). "Livni rivals to push for Kadima primary". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- Hoffman, Gil (28 November 2011). "Livni thwarts attempt at early Kadima primary". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- Bar-Zohar, Ophir (19 January 2012). "Livni sets Kadima primary for late March as party rivals ramp up rhetoric". Haaretz. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- Lerner, Aaron (19 January 2012). "Poll: Livni heads Kadima: National camp 67 Left: 42 Arabs: 11". Independent Media Review & Analysis. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- Bar-Zohar, Ophir (19 January 2012). "Olmert will not endorse any candidate in upcoming Kadima primaries". Haaretz. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- Bar-Zohar, Ophir (31 January 2012). "Mofaz kicks off Kadima campaign with call for Mideast peace deal". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Bar-Zohar, Ophir (25 January 2012). "Kadima split as it prepares for Livni-Mofaz showdown". Haaretz. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- Weitz, Gidi (16 February 2012). "Livni: Kadima will collapse if Mofaz leads party". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Hoffman, Gil (16 February 2012). "Mofaz associates: Livni using Lahiani against him in race". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Harkov, Lahav (21 February 2012). "Lahiani not joining Kadima leadership race". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 February 2012. Cite error: Invalid
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- Hoffman, Gil (22 March 2012). "Dichter quits Kadima race, joins Mofaz against Livni". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Hoffman, Gil (22 March 2012). "Dichter rejects calls to quit Kadima race". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Benari, Elad (28 March 2012). "Mofaz Wins Kadima Leadership". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 27 March 2012.