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Mofaz takes a break after losing Kadima poll

Latest update : 2008-09-18

Israeli Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, who narrowly lost out to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Wednesday's vote to elect the chief of Israel's ruling Kadima party, said he was quitting politics for a while.

Hawkish Israeli Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Thursday he was quitting politics temporarily after losing the leadership of the ruling Kadima party to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

"I need to take a pause to think about my future," Mofaz told supporters at his headquarters near Tel Aviv, a day after the election to choose a new party leader.

"I accept the result of the leadership election and I wish the government and the people better days and a firm leadership," Mofaz added in the comments carried by public radio.

Livni narrowly won Wednesday's party leadership vote to replace scandal-plagued Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is standing down to fight persistent corruption allegations.

Livni secured 43 percent of the vote and a lead of just one percentage point -- or 431 votes -- over Mofaz, a former army chief and defence minister.

But the election looks unlikely to end the political turmoil brought on by the graft accusations against Olmert, as it remains uncertain whether Livni will be able to garner sufficient parliamentary support to form a government.

Mofaz did not say however when he planned to quit his post as transport minister or if he also planned to give up his parliamentary seat.

Date created : 2008-09-18