Poll: Mofaz Candidacy Hurts Kadima

A poll says that Shaul Mofaz would score fewer seats for Kadima than if Tzippy Livni were to continue heading the list.

David Lev ,

Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Israel news photo: Flash 90

As things stand today, if Shaul Mofaz is chosen by Kadima members to lead the party's list in elections, the party would score four fewer seats than it would if Tzipi Livni were to continue heading the list. The numbers are the result of a poll by the Ma'agar Mochot organization, presented Thursday on Army Radio.

The question of whether or not to replace Livni as Kadima chairperson has been much on the minds of Kadima members and MKs in the past several days, after recent polls showed Kadima losing about half its electoral weight. If elections were held now, the polls showed, Kadima would net only 13 Knesset seats. The precipitous fall from the party's current 28 seats in the polls has revived the political fortunes of Kadima's number two, Shaul Mofaz, who has long touted himself as a more effective leader than Livni – one that could better appeal to the middle of the road voters whom the Likud and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu count on for their political base.

But the poll released Thursday is likely to set Mofaz's candidacy back, at least for now. The poll showed that while Kadima headed by Livni would net 13 Knesset seats, the party's Knesset presence would fall to the single digits – 9 – if Mofaz headed the list. If anything, a Mofaz candidacy would strengthen the Likud – which, the poll shows, gets two more Knesset seats in a Mofaz candidacy scenario. Labor also gains one seat with Mofaz at Kadima's helm, but the newest “dark horse” on Israel's political racetrack – secularist Yair Lapid – actually loses a seat if Mofaz, as opposed to Livni, heads Kadima.

Later Thursday, Livni will consult with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about whether or not to offer Lapid a slot on the Kadima list. On Thursday night, Livni will host a meeting with MKs who support her candidacy, including Roni Bar-On and Yoel Hasson. A spokesperson for Mofaz said that Livni could not continue fooling party members that she was the leading candidate, and that support for Mofaz “is growing all the time.”