MK Shaul Mofaz, former IDF Chief of Staff and Defence Minister, will be the fourth head of the Kadima party, having won 61.7 per cent of the vote, defeating incumbent Tzipi Livni in the final count after Tuesday’s primary.
Speaking from Kadima Headquarters in Petah Tikva following his victory, Mofaz called for party unity and invited Livni to work with him to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “From tonight, the path to unseating Netanyahu has begun. From tonight, there is one Kadima,” Mofaz said. “A united and strong Kadima will return Israel to the right path,” he added. Mofaz promised to work for new socioeconomic agenda, and to get all Israelis to serve in the army. The latter comment caused several ultra-Orthodox in the crowd to leave the room.
After congratulating Mofaz and thanking campaign volunteers, Livni declined to answer a question over whether she would remain in the party. “These were two long months and a long day,” Livni said, “and I’m going to sleep.”
The election was marred by a low turnout. Only a little more than 40 per cent of the party’s 95,000 members came out to vote on the rainy day. By contrast, in the first round of voting in September’s Labour leadership race, the turnout was 67%.
Mofaz currently serves as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs And Defense Committee. He was the 16th IDF’s Chief of the General Staff, and has served as Israel’s Minister of Defence, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transportation and Road Safety. In 2009 Mofaz presented a peace plan calling for the immediate creation of a Palestinian state in interim borders which would have paved the way for final status negotiations on the basis of the 1967 border.