In her first speech since being declared the winner of the Kadima primary elections, Tzipi Livni said the party had proven "that there is a different kind of politics. For a very long time I was told there was no such thing, and today Kadima proved that there is."
Upon hearing of her apparent victory earlier in the evening Livni called her staffers and told them, "we fought like lions, against many opportunists, and you were simply amazing – the good guys won."
"We'll meet and say everything face to face, but you were simply amazing," she added.
According to the final results, Livni defeated rival Mofaz by a narrow margin of 1.1% of the vote. According to the final results released by Kadima Livni won the election with 43.1% (16,936 votes). Mofaz came in a close second with 42% (16,505 votes).
Meir Sheetrit came third with 8.5% (3,327) and fourth was Avi Dichter with 6.5% (2,563). In all only 32,872 registered Kadima members cast their ballot - only 53.7%.
Exit polls initially awarded Livni with a 10% advantage over rival Mofaz.
"I found my friends anew, whom I've known for years and didn't know how true they really were until this last month," she said. "I've met friends I didn't know and they became my true friends within two weeks."
She added a compliment to her staffers, noting that "everything was on your shoulders, under your management and I'm sure you haven't quite registered this, but you've done something amazing and I just don't want to disappoint any one of you."
"I know that you did this as friends and because, like me, you want to live in a better place. Thank you very much and a huge hug through the telephone," she told them.
In contrast, Mofaz's campaign headquarters was filled with shocked silence following the publication of the exit polls. Nonetheless, the transportation minister expressed optimism, telling his staffers to wait for the real results of the vote.
Knesset Member Gideon Sa'ar, chairman of the Likud faction, called on all parties to demonstrate national responsibility and set a date for a general election as soon as possible.
"Israel's prime minister should be elected by the entire public, and not by a margin of 431 voters. Forming a government under these conditions will constitute a legislative farce, detrimental to Israeli democracy," he said.