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Kadima members vote for party candidates

Latest update : 2008-12-18

Members of Israel's ruling Kadima party elected 22 candidates for legislative elections due in February. Party leader Tzipi Livni faces tough competition from former Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party which is ahead in the polls.

AFP -  Members of Israel's ruling Kadima party on Wednesday elected 22 candidates for the February 10 early legislative elections.
   
About 80,000 party members were eligible to cast their ballots and 45 percent of them turned out at 95 polling stations, the party said.
   
Results were expected to be published early Thursday.
   
The vote was the second held by the centrist party. In September, the party picked Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as its new leader to replace scandal-plagued Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
   
Livni hopes to take over from Olmert following the February election but faces tough competition from former premier Benjamin Netanyahu, whose right-wing Likud party dominates in opinion polls.
   
In recent weeks, Livni has been perceived as courting right-wing voters in a bid to gain ground against her rival.
   
She has lashed out at Defence Minister and Labour party chief Ehud Barak claiming he was not tough enough in his response to rocket fire by militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
   
She has also distanced herself from statements by Olmert who said Israel needed to make territorial concessions to the Palestinians in order to achieve peace.
   
Likud and Labour have held similar elections ahead of the February vote.
  

Date created : 2008-12-18

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