Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Well, at this moment my second prediction for this year is not looking too good. Even if Sharon recovers (as I hope he does) he cannot responsibly remain in politics. If Kadima is to win the coming election, someone else must lead it. Who?
The obvious answer is Ehud Olmert, who is very close to Sharon, effectively his heir apparent, who has political experience, who has clearly had the same sincere conversion on the ultimate disposition of the territories as Sharon did, and who is currently acting Prime Minister. But he is deeply disliked by key figures in the party and widely disliked around the country. I don't know that he'd be a bad Prime Minister. I do know that, unless he wins a primary, he's going to be in a very poor position to hold the party together and win an election.
On the other hand, it seems unlikely in the extreme that Olmert would simply step aside to make way for Shaul Mofaz or Dan Meridor or, heaven forfend, someone who joined Kadima from Labor.
If they can manage to swing it, it would be very good for Kadima to hold a primary or at least a caucus of some kind to choose their leader. If I were a Kadima voter, I would instinctively incline to support Mofaz for leader simply because I think he'd be the most electable candidate, not because I have any specific attachment to him personally. (I like Dan Meridor, actually, but I think someone with a Hamlet complex of his dimensions would be a poor leader for the new party.)
My not-so-bold prediction: if Kadima's leader does not have clear legitimacy, if he has not earned the leadership of the party, then Kadima will struggle to win the next election. And if it does not win the next election, Kadima will dissolve almost immediately.