Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kadima heads to ballots

Centrist party gears up as 114 ballots open nationwide. Leading candidates Livni, Mofaz plan to campaign until last possible moment as they vie for every vote

Attila Somfalvi
Israel News

After weeks of internal turmoil within the ruling party, Wednesday will finally see a new chairman elected to lead Kadima and, in all likelihood, the country. Some 74,000 registered party voters will determine who will replace the resigning Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit or Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter.

The 114 ballots set up throughout the country will open at 10:00 am and close at 10:00 pm.

At Livni and Mofaz's headquarters tensions are rising as both chase down very last Kadima member to ensure those supporting them cast their votes.

Mofaz is considered the more organized candidate and he has won the support of many of the people on the street and that of the big party constituencies.

Livni has had to work hard over the past several weeks to raise her profile within the party after nearly two and a half years of neglecting her internal political base.

The night before the determinant elections were spent in last-minute attempts to influence the voters.

The Mofaz headquarters hopes to bring more than 15,000 supporters to the ballots. Advertisement

The Livni headquarters is hanging its hopes on a high voter turnout, which will spell out a Livni victory - polls say. Pollster Kalman Guyer estimates a high turnout will guarantee Livni a 20% edge over her rivals.

Mofaz said earlier this week he remains confident and assured supporters he would win 43% of the votes.

Roni Sofer contribute to the report .

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