Kadima election officials are not officially declaring a winner in the party leadership race as votes are being reviewed and disputed. All the votes have not been counted as of 5:00AM Thursday morning.
Despite exit polls showing an easy victory for Tzipi Livni in the Kadima leadership race, as the votes were tabulated, the picture became a different one. Livni headquarters reports all the votes were counted, contradicting the report from Kadima election officials, placing the total number at 38,961, giving Livni a decisive win with 16,794 votes and Mofaz in second place with 16,315. The actual voter turnout was about 45%, with the party reporting 74,000 eligible voters.
Mofaz is expected to appeal with the actual results far closer than all the polls predicted.
In actuality, the polls predicting a clear win most likely hurt Livni, since many voters were apathetic, assured of her win, deciding not to get out and vote. Mofaz on the other hand was more organized and ran a more rigorous campaign, perhaps explaining the close results.
Ironically, exit polls predicted Livni would take 47-49% of the vote and Mofaz only 37%, but that is not what the numbers show.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert telephoned Livni to congratulate her, promising her total cooperation. Livni aides are hoping Mr. Olmert will resign as promised, and suspend himself from office immediately and hand the mantle of leadership to the new party leader. As was reported by YWN, this is most unlikely to happen and Olmert will at least attempt to remain in office and head the transition government until the next election.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)