Livni wins by narrow margin, Mofaz to appeal
Candidates' headquarters squabble over final results as clear-cut victory
predicted by exit polls decreases to mere 1% advantage over rival Mofaz.
Both camps gear for expected legal battle
Attila Somfalvi and Amnon Meranda YNET Latest Update: 09.18.08, 05:46 /
The exit polls may have awarded Tzipi Livni with a clear-cut victory over
rival Shaul Mofaz in the Kadima primary elections - but the picture seemed
quite different after midnight Thursday as both camps geared for an
unforeseen twist in the results.
According to the final results, Livni defeated rival Mofaz by a narrow
margin of 1.1% of the vote. According to the final results released by
Kadima Livni won the election with 43.1% (16,936 votes). Mofaz came in a
close second with 42% (16,505 votes).
Meir Sheetrit came third with 8.5% (3,327) and fourth was Avi Dichter with
6.5% (2,563). In all only 32,872 registered Kadima members cast their
ballot - only 53.7%.
Mofaz's camp initially claimed he was leading the foreign affairs minister
by 800 votes, but relented as the night progressed that Livni had indeed
won. However the narrow margin is already being contested, with Mofaz likely
appeal the results.
His headquarters is also demanding an Ashkelon ballot be disqualified.
Mofaz's headquarters surged back to life as news of the final results
trickled down, and Mofaz himself is expected to return.
Livni was cautious after the exit poll figures were released. She made no
victory speech, choosing instead to settle for brief calls to her staffers
in which she told them they had "fought like lions, against many
opportunists, and you were simply amazing - the good guys won."
Throughout the day Livni was concerned that a low voter turnout would give
the more organized Mofaz camp an advantage. She requested ballots remain
open for an additional hour. The Kadima central elections committee granted
her an additional half hour, after appeals by Mofaz and Sheetrit were
Kadima MK Zeev Elkin, a close associate of Mofaz, said the latter's campaign
headquarters plans to demand a recount of all ballots in the Kadima primary
First Published: 09.18.08, 02:53