The Knesset House Committee voted six to four Monday night to approve a request
made by MKs loyal to former foreign minister Tzipi Livni to break off from
Kadima in order to run separately in the January 22 election.
In a stormy
meeting that lasted nearly three hours, MKs staying in Kadima took turns bashing
Livni and her allies. They read embarrassing quotes made by the MKs splitting
condemning past splits in other parties and accused Livni of trying to rob the
“First you killed us, then you tried to take our
inheritance,” Kadima MK Marina Solodkin told MKs who were her faction colleagues
until the vote.
Urging Livni’s MKs to pay for Kadima’s debts, MK Ronit
Tirosh accused Livni of accruing the debt by approving massive budgets for
mayors who ran in municipal races in order to obtain their support in her
unsuccessful leadership race against Shaul Mofaz.
MK Yoel Hasson, who
made the split request on behalf of the seven departing MKs, responded that the
split was inevitable and that they would take whatever party funding and party
debts were due to them by law.
“Most Kadima voters wanted Livni, who
would have run even if we did not split,” Hasson told the committee.
are splitting before the election and will soon stand before the voters to judge
us. That is very different from other politicians who took their mandates and
gave them to other parties when there were no elections in
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Knesset legal adviser Eyal
Yinon defended Livni’s MKs. Yinon said that because Livni had seven MKs ready to
leave, according to the law, the House Committee had no choice but to approve
the split without taking political and ideological considerations into
“The House Committee needs to ask itself if it is permitted to
make a political decision based on personalities and not on law,” Rivlin told
the MKs. “The committee should consider only professional considerations, not
political ones. If the decision on whether to approve a split changes based on
who makes the request, we have a problem.”
Besides the Kadima split, the
House Committee also voted to let MK Taleb A-Sana split from Ra’am-Ta’al and MK
Haim Amsalem break off from Shas. There are now 16 factions in the Knesset.