Kadima leadership election, 2008
An election for the leadership of Kadima was held on 17 September 2008 as a concession to Kadima's coalition partner, Labour, which had threatened to bring down the government if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert didn't stand aside following police investigations into alleged corruption during his terms as minister and as mayor of Jerusalem.
As Kadima remains the largest party in the Knesset and the coalition, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the designated new leader after balloting, will have the chance to form a government without a need for elections. If successful, she will become the next Prime Minister, and the first woman to hold that position since Golda Meir in 1974.
Announced candidates were Livni, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz and Minister of the Interior Meir Sheetrit. Current leader and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was considered unlikely to run due to public pressure under many ongoing corruption investigations, and stated in an announcement on 30 July 2008 that he would indeed resign once his party had chosen his successor as party leader. Nominations closed on 24 August 2008. Livni was widely considered to be the frontrunner, and she would likely improve Kadima's prospects in the next elections..
Exit polls released after the poll indicated a double-digit victory for Livni. The actual vote count turned out much closer, amid very low turnout, with Shaul Mofaz coming within a few hundred votes of winning an unexpected victory over Livni. Supporters of Mofaz called for a recount but Mofaz rejected any legal challenge of the declared result and called Livni to congratulate her on her victory, as did Sheetrit and Dichter.
After Mofaz's loss, he announced that he would be taking a break from politics and leaving the government and Knesset. However, he would remain a member of Kadima. Soon after however, he said that he would return after the Jewish New Year.
Kadima Leadership Elections: background, results, and the prospects for peace Institute for Middle East Understanding
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