Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kadima MK's acnowledge Livni's poor Chances to win,Mofaz would be a better Choice

The February 10 general election is still 19 days away, but Kadima ministers and MKs have already started lamenting in private conversations that they would have had a much better chance of winning had Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz won the party's leadership race. The gap between Likud and Kadima has been growing since the end of Operation Cast Lead. A Geocartographic Institute poll broadcast on Channel 1 found that the Likud's lead had grown to 12 seats, 33 to 21. The polls have hurt morale in the party, causing ministers and MKs who supported Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in the Kadima leadership race to regret that they did not endorse a candidate with a security background like Mofaz, a former IDF chief of General Staff. Livni beat Mofaz in the September 17 primary by only 431 votes. "The issue of this election was set by the war in Gaza, and I have no doubt that Mofaz, as a security man, could have been a better candidate as head of Kadima against [Likud leader Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Labor chairman] Ehud Barak," said a Kadima MK who supported Mofaz in the primary. One Kadima Knesset candidate who supported Mofaz said that several ministers and MKs had told him that they were sorry they had supported Livni. Yuval Zellner, who served as Mofaz's campaign manager in the primary and is now 34th on the party's list, said he doubted he would enter the Knesset or that Kadima would win the election. Zellner said that had Mofaz won the primary, he would have formed a government, and elections would not have been held until 2010. "I have no doubt that Mofaz would have brought a much better achievement for Kadima," Zellner said. "Tzipi is a good person and a fitting candidate, but the public would have preferred Mofaz - not only because of Gaza, but more importantly because of the nuclear threat from Iran."