MK Shaul Mofaz was elected on Tuesday to be the new chairman of the Kadima party. Mofaz beat his rival MK Tzipi Livni, who has headed the party since 2008, and will assume the position of opposition leader.
According to final results reported by Army Radio, Mofaz won 64.5 percent of the vote while Livni received only 35.5 percent.
The poll closed at 10:00 p.m. Israel time and as of 9:00 p.m. only about 38 percent of party members exercised their right to vote in the primary. Analysts predicted earlier that a low turnout would likely play out in Mofaz’s favor.
On paper, Kadima is Israel’s largest party, having won one more Knesset Member than Likud in the last general elections. Since Livni’s failure to form a coalition government, the party has fallen into disfavor under her leadership, which has been far from inspiring supporters.
Polls have shown that no matter who wins the neck-to-neck leadership contest, the real winner may be Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the nationalist camp. All political surveys indicate that Kadima’s strength in the Knesset would crumble if elections were held today, no matter who heads the party. Labor, the Likud, and a new party headed by Yair Lapid would pick up the crumbs.