Founded in 2005
In November 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to leave Likud, his longtime party, and form a new party. This decision followed a series of internal difficulties that the Likud put in Sharon's way during the disengagement from Gaza and the period that followed. Many Knesset members from the Likud and several from the Labor party—including former Prime Minister Shimon Peres—joined Sharon's new party, which was called Kadima. Parallel to this move, the 16th Knesset was dissolved and the elections for the 17th Knesset were moved up. Shortly after the establishment of Kadima, Ariel Sharon fell ill. Ehud Olmert replaced Sharon as chairman of the fledgling party and its candidate for prime minister.
In the elections for the 17th Knesset, which were held in March 2006, Kadima received the largest number of seats. Ehud Olmert, head of the party, was charged with forming the new government, which was sworn in in May, 2006. During his term as prime minister, Olmert was the subject of several criminal investigations and faced strong pressure to resign his office. In mid-2008, Olmert agreed to hold primaries for the party leadership, and undertook to announce his resignation after they were held. In September 2008, after Tzipi Livni was elected as the new leader of Kadima, Olmert resigned his position as prime minister. Livni attempted to form a new government, but failed. As a result, early elections were called. In the 2009 elections for the 18th Knesset, Kadima retained its position as the largest party, but moved to the opposition. In 2012 a split in the party saw former leader Livni leaving the party. In the 2013 elections Kadima barely passed the electoral threshold receiving only 2 seats. The party was later disbanded and did not compete in the 2015 elections.
Kadima was a centrist party. It supported Israel's definition as a Jewish and democratic state and advocated advancing the peace process while ensuring the security interests of the State of Israel. It accepted the principle of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by establishing two states for two peoples. In the socio-economic arena, Kadima aspired to reduce social gaps and to combat poverty. It also supported increasing market competition by changing national priorities in the allocation of funds and increasing the degree of transparency regarding such allocations.