Party Official Name: Kadima (means forward) קדימה
Leader – Shaul Mofaz
MKs in current Knesset – 28
Latest Haaretz poll – 2
Under Tzipi Livni’s leadership, Kadima succeeded in remaining the largest party in the Knesset in the last elections, with one seat more than Likud. She nonetheless failed at forming a coalition and the party, founded by Ariel Sharon in 2005 after he split with Likud, proved an ineffectual opposition. In March, Livni lost the leadership to Shaul Mofaz; Kadima’s members hoped he could restore some fighting spirit, but instead their new leader joined a grand coalition with Netanyahu that lasted only seventy days.
Since then, Kadima, which was supposed to have changed the entire political landscape and almost wiped out Likud in the 2006 elections, has been spiraling down in opinion polls. Many recent surveys show that the party does not even pass the electoral threshold.
Kadima, which originally set out to reform the elections system, push through a “civilian agenda” (as opposed to Israel’s long-standing military agenda) and reach a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority failed to deliver on all counts. Many of its leaders were mired in corruption scandals, chief among them former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Even “spotless” Livni (nicknamed Israel’s “Mrs. Clean”), who succeeded Olmert after he was forced to stand down, failed to generate a new sense of purpose in the party.
Mofaz still hopes to offer an alternative to Netanyahu and, thanks to the party’s size in the current Knesset, he has a significant coffer with which to run a well-funded campaign. But it seems that the 750,000-odd Israelis who voted for Kadima four years ago have lost faith in replacing Netanyahu or, at least, in Mofaz being the man for the job.
Instead of holding any form of internal elections or primaries for the party’s Knesset list, Mofaz has decided to set up a committee to appoint the candidates. However, as things are looking now, very few of them – if any – will serve in the next Knesset.