Israel`s single largest party Kadima on verge of a split

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.

PTI



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

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