Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz said on Thursday evening that his party could win the elections and publicly called to replace Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He made the remarks during a meeting of the Kadima party council, in which Mofaz’s proposal to cancel the party’s primaries and establish a committee to select the party's Knesset list for the January elections was approved.
In his speech before the party members, Mofaz rejected the idea that the election has already been decided and that Netanyahu cannot be beaten.
“I urge each and every one of Israel's citizens to join my friends and I in replacing the Netanyahu government, because it is a national mission and it’s time to shatter the myth that there’s no one better than Netanyahu," he said. “Next week we will establish our election headquarters and we'll be off."
Mofaz said that Israel cannot afford a weak and absent-minded leader like Netanyahu.
"There is better than Netanyahu. There is much better Netanyahu,” he said. “Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is better than Netanyahu, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, to whom I personally send wishes for a speedy recovery, is also better than Netanyahu. Former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is better than Netanyahu if he could run. Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is better than Netanyahu, and I myself - a former chief of staff and Defense Minister – am better than Netanyahu.”
Most polls have predicted that Kadima – currently the Knesset’s largest party with 28 seats – is headed for a downfall in the next elections. One poll published Wednesday showed that Kadima may not even make it into the next Knesset.
The poll, conducted by the Smith Institute for Globes, gives Kadima just three seats – receiving just above the bare minimum of votes required for passing the threshold for entering the Knesset.
If Kadima's downward-spiraling trend continues, its demise in the next elections may mark the most radical disappearance of a political force in Israel's history. Other parties have come and gone, but no party went from 28 seats to none in the course of one Knesset term.
Mofaz’s speech on Thursday may have been a hint that he would be willing to step down from Kadima’s leadership. A new poll released Thursday found that a party led by Olmert, Livni and Yair Lapid, could garner enough seats to overcome the Likud, and form a new government.
Olmert and Livni met on Wednesday and agreed in principle that should they decide to return to politics, they will work together and run on the same list. It has yet to be decided whether they’ll indeed run and whether they’ll form a new party or join Kadima.