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      Dichter to Challenge Livni

      MK Avi Dichter will challenge Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni for the party's top spot, saying her reign has been "undemocratic."
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 11/8/2011, 2:15 AM

      Avi Dichter
      Avi Dichter
      Knesset Photo

      MK Avi Dichter announced Monday he will run for the chairmanship of Kadima in the party's scheduled primaries, saying faction head Tzipi Livni has hijacked the party.

      "Kadima's system has become Tzipi's system and not the party's. It no longer serves Kadima's interests," he said.

      Dichter, a former director of the ISA (Shin Bet), echoed mounting criticism that Kadima has become devoid of internal debate as Livni has taken an increasingly unilateral tack in running the party.

      "This is a sign of weakness – Kadima has failed to take a clear stand on important issues."

      Dichter also cited State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss' report on Kadima, which asserted improprieties in how the party machine functions, to buttress his assertion Livni’s methods are “undemocratic.”

      "Kadima will exercise transparency. I will insist on that. Livni is failing to perform her duties when it comes to the budget. If we have a budget of NIS 23 million ($6.4 million), then that requires that we exercise transparency. I don't know what Livni is trying to hide," Dichter said.

      Dichter also said he believed Kadima's primaries would be pushed up despite Livni's recent bully-boy assertion she alone would determine when primaries would be held.

      "Kadima cannot go on without holding primaries," Dichter concluded.

      However, Dichter did not stake out any ideological territory or policy positions that would indicate in what direction he would seek to take the party. In recent months Livni has come under increasing fire from rank-and-file Kadima lawmakers for taking increasingly left-wing positions despite the faction's centrist Zionist billing.

      Former IDF chief of staff MK Shaul Mofaz, who has served as Defense and Transportation Minister, is also expected to vie for the Kadima chairmanship.