Shaul Mofaz may have won the Kadima primaries this week, but the real winner was the Labor Party, according to a Yedioth Ahronoth poll released on Thursday.
According to the survey, if elections were to be held now, the Labor Party would win 18 seats as opposed to the Mofaz-led Kadima party, which would earn only 12.
Kadima is currently the largest party, with 28 seats, while Labor received 13 in the last election in 2008.
The poll, by Mina Tzemach of the Dachaf institute, projected that Likud would win 29 seats, up from its current 27, and Yisrael Beiteinu would win 13, down from 15. Shas is expected to win eight places, down from its current 11, and Meretz would move neither up nor down, retaining three seats. A party led by former Shas leader Aryeh Deri, should he found one, would win two seats, and a new party being established by television personality Yair Lapid is expected to win 12.
Mofaz expressed tremendous confidence in his new position as the opposition head. In an interview with Maariv published Thursday, Mofaz said his election means that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “reason to fear.”
Mofaz said that he has no intention of joining the current ruling coalition and that his plan now is to focus on two goals: rebuilding Kadima as a viable alternative to the current leadership, and to replace Netanyahu as prime minister in the upcoming elections.
In a telephone interview with Haaretz, Mofaz further outlined his vision for a regenerated Kadima. He said that he intends to lead the social protest that he believes will restart this summer, and that the primary focus of that protest will be the drafting of the ultra-Orthodox into the IDF.
After his landslide victory on Tuesday, Mofaz extended the hand of partnership to Livni, telling her that “your place is with us — I call upon you to stand with us in our struggle.”
Livni however remains cagey about her future steps. In an interview to Channel 2 news outside her house, Livni said she was still considering her options.
“I was taught that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” said Livni when asked how she felt following the loss.
Livni said she had received hundreds of calls from people all over the world, but that the most meaningful ones were from Israeli supporters.
There is much speculation regarding Livni’s political future. The Yedioth Ahronoth poll revealed that 28 percent of those asked said she should retire from politics, while 29 percent said she should remain in Kadima as Mofaz’s second in command. Eighteen percent of those polled believe she should join Yair Lapid’s new party. On his Facebook page, Lapid wrote on Wednesday that she will not be a part of his future party.
The same poll showed that the 54 percent of people asked believed that Netanyahu is the best candidate for prime minister; only 16 percent said Mofaz was better suited.