The front-runner in the Kadima primaries, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, received some unexpected support from her leadership rivals this week, following a fierce attack on her suitability from Labour Leader, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, writes Anshel Pfeffer.
Mr Barak said last week he was unconvinced that in defence issues "the Foreign Minister with her background is prepared to give the solutions".
Mr Barak's words were seen by Kadima leaders as an inexcusable intervention in another party and interpreted as an expression of his concern at Ms Livni's popularity and thus his unwillingness to serve under her premiership.
Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, Ms Livni's main rival, responded by saying it was "a personal attack and is unsuitable". Another contender, Interior Minister Avi Dichter, said that "Labour's leader should do better if he concerns himself with his own cooking pot, which isn't as large as it used to be, and leave Kadima affairs to Kadima people."
According to a Channel Two poll published on Tuesday, Ms Livni is leading Mr Mofaz among party members by 42 per cent to 31, enough for a first-round victory.