Israel's Kadima begins voting to elect new head
Israel's ruling Kadima party has begun voting for a new prime minister, and a new one should be in place by the end of the week. Israel's foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, is the current favourite. She would be the first female Israeli leader since Golda Meir.
Voting began today to find a new leader for Israel's ruling Kadima party, with the current foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, still ahead in opinion polls.
Around 74,000 members of Kadima will take part in the vote with a result not expected until early tomorrow. If the winner succeeds in forming a coalition with other smaller parties within the next five weeks, he or she will become prime minister. Four candidates are running and Livni's strongest challenger is Shaul Mofaz, a hawkish former army chief, who has emphasised his security background.
Opinion polls have consistently put Livni, a former lawyer who entered politics a decade ago, a long way in front, although analysts caution that Israeli primary elections are difficult to call particularly since this is the first primary for Kadima, a party formed only three years ago by the then prime minister, Ariel Sharon. If Livni wins and forms a coalition she would be the first female prime minister of Israel in more than 30 years.