Tzipi Livni's election headquarters was licking its wounds on Wednesday, following the defeat the outgoing Kadima chairperson suffered at the hands of rival Shaul Mofaz in the party's primary the day before: Livni received 14, 516 votes, compared to Mofaz's 23,987.
An official at the party's leadership pinned the landslide result on voting patterns among Israeli Arabs, where Mofaz enjoys a massive margin.
In Peki’in, for example, Mofaz received 146 votes to Livni's 10; in Tel Sheva, it was 190 to 11; Kfar Kara 145 to 25; Baqa-Jatt 137 to 7; and in Bir al-Maksur and Deir al-Asad, where a battle raged for vote contractor Ahmed Dabah, Mofaz received 1126 votes compared to Livni's 135.
In many of the towns and villages, the number of registered Kadima members far outnumberd the overall votes the party received in the last general election.
The big question at this point is: What will Livni do next? The incumbent Kadima leader didn't indicate her future plans following Tuesday's loss, saying only she intended to rest.
Alongside speculation that she will retire, others estimate that she has yet to make up her mind, and that, as of now, she's mainly interested in taking some time off. She has not been available for official comment since her loss was announced.
Some say the animosity between Livni and Mofaz could forestall any future cooperation. When, earlier this week, Livni was asked by Haaretz why she wouldn't commit to stay following a possible defeat in the primary, she said: "If I'm not the chairperson, will anyone care if I sit there? As what? As decoration?"
Mofaz takes Kadima primary
Following his win, Mofaz publicly urged Livni to stay in the party and work with him, with many of her MK supporters arriving at his headquarters to join the celebration.
Former MK Tzachi Hanegbi was the first to arrive, followed by Yoel Hasson – who was part of Livni's team – along with Nachman Shai, Shlomo Mula, and Rachel Adatto.
"Tzipi, your place is with us," Mofaz said to the crowd's adoration, adding: "As of tonight, there is one Kadima, unified for its vision for the country, its values and the righteousness of its path its soul."
"As of tonight we go out hand in hand, regardless of which camp we belonged to, full partners to the Kadima effort," he said.
Livni has several options: retiring from politics; moving to a different, and an existing, party; joining others with political aspirations, such as Yair Lapid; or splitting Kadima by enlisting MKs to her side.
However, such a significant defeat seems to narrow Livni's possibilities even more.
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