Israel`s single largest party Kadima on verge of a split
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 24, 2009, 20:16
Jerusalem: Israel's single largest party, Kadima, is on the verge of a split with chairperson Tzipi Livni facing internal rebellion and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party allegedly trying to lure her detractors to his party fold through "attractive offers".

Livni's arch-rival and the second-in-command in Kadima party, Shaul Mofaz, today held an urgent meeting with her against the backdrop of Netanyahu's alleged attempts, demanding to call party primaries to save it from a definite split.

The meeting was held at Livni's home in Tel Aviv following a request made by Mofaz.

"We spoke about Kadima's situation. Kadima is facing a breakup. I recommended to the Kadima chairwoman a way in which Kadima's unity could be preserved. I hope that for the first time she will also listen to other voices," Mofaz told reporters after the meeting.

"The things I said are very clear and unequivocal, and I hope in this way we will be able to reach a leadership which will know how to make the right decisions and continue leading Kadima to where it should be in order to safeguard our interests, "he said.

Mofaz was beaten narrowly by Livni in the?party primaries held before the general elections in February and has been preparing for the next round ever since.

"We will prepare to deal with what is happening. This is all part of a manoeuvre. Mofaz is taking advantage of the situation with Bibi for political games inside Kadima," a close aide to Livni said.

"His move is coordinated with some Knesset members whose names were mentioned as deserters. Mofaz is trying to use Livni for his internal wars against her," the aide added.

Addressing party activists yesterday, Mofaz promised that Kadima would return to the government under his leadership, rather than dry up in the Opposition.

Sources in Kadima and the Likud said Mofaz has been holding talks with members of his faction and has told them that he will demand that Livni agrees to primary elections in the party within three months.

If his demands are not met, he plans to split the party, they said.

The Kadima Chairperson is expected to meet Netanyahu today for a regular briefing between the Prime Minister and Opposition leader, but it has not been known whether the matter will come up during discussions.

Sources in Likud party said that some 12-14 Kadima party lawmakers have been holding talks with the Prime Minister in recent months and have asked for senior positions in return for leaving their party and joining Likud.

The total cost of the jobs promised to the dissidents may reach about USD 3.5 million per annum in an already bloated ministry, the largest in Israel's independence history.


First Published: Thursday, December 24, 2009, 20:16

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