Opposition leader and Kadima party chairwoman Tzipi Livni is fighting for her political life.
Kadima votes Tuesday to confirm or reject her leadership as Livni, 54, finds herself on the ropes with her party's Jewish core and mounts a campaign with Israeli Arab party members in a bid to keep control of a party in revolt.
Trailing in the polls behind former IDF chief of staff and ex-Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Livni was thrown a lifeline last week when a survey showed her leading Mofaz – at 46 per cent to his 36 per cent – for the first time in weeks.
However, Mofaz adroitly responded by combing forces with another challenger, former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter, who threw his considerable weight behind Mofaz to increase the former's chances of unseating Livni.
“Shaul and I have much in common to unite us, while Tzipi Livni has already proven that she has failed,” Dichter said when he announced his decision to unite with Mofaz against Livni.
If Dichter's constituents follow his lead, A Mofaz victory over Livni is an effective certainty.
Unlike Livni, whose style as opposition leader has been criticized as "opposition for its own sake," Mofaz has said – should he win – that he will form a unity government with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party.
Kadima won 28 seats to Likud's 27 in the last national elections, but Netanyahu was tapped by President Shimon Peres to form the government when Livni failed to build a coalition.