Tzipi Livni was defeated in a decisive primary vote by Shaul Mofaz (who won 62% of the vote) as leader of Israel’s largest opposition party, the centrist Kadima party. As of this writing, Livni has not announced whether she will remain within Kadima and in public life. Mofaz is a former IDF chief of staff and Likud defense minister who proposes a “provisional” Palestinian state, initially comprised of the Gaza Strip and 60-65% of the West Bank, with no settlements dismantled at first.
Yesterday’s NY Times news article sums up in its conclusion as follows:
…. Ms. Livni echoed the belief of some political analysts here that Mr. Mofaz would be more likely to join a Netanyahu-led government, saying that he would turn Kadima into “Likud B,” an accusation Mr. Mofaz strenuously denied in an interview with Israel Radio as voting was under way on Tuesday.
Critics inside and outside Kadima have faulted Ms. Livni for what they say is her ineffectiveness as an opposition leader. She was unable to form a governing coalition in 2008 after her predecessor as Kadima’s leader, Ehud Olmert, resigned….
In the 2009 elections, the party won 28 seats to Likud’s 27. But Ms. Livni again was unable to put together a coalition, then refused to join Mr. Netanyahu’s government, a decision many critics viewed as a mistake.
…. Ms. Livni has also been criticized for her political absence during the huge social justice protests last summer when hundreds of thousands of Israelis demonstrated for affordable housing and against the high cost of living.
Mr. Mofaz has presented himself as more attuned to social issues, but the center-left Labor Party under its recently elected leader, Shelly Yacimovich, is far more identified with the social struggle in Israel. [As is, hopefully, the new Meretz leader, Zehava Galon.]
The political center also has a new contender, Yair Lapid, a popular television host whose father was a well-known politician and journalist. Mr. Lapid announced in January that he was entering politics. Although he has not yet formed a party, polls have indicated that it would drain votes away from Kadima.