Three MKs left Kadima on Thursday to run for the 19th Knesset with other
Nino Abesadze is set to join Labor and Yulia Shamolov Berkovich
and Arieh Bibi are turning to Likud.
Thursday marked 90 days to the
January 22 election, the first day MKs could legally leave their parties for
another without resigning from the Knesset.
“I’m proud to go back to
Likud, the natural place for me,” Bibi said on Wednesday in a meeting in which
he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu his change of
Shamolov Berkovich left Kadima on Thursday, and while she
hasn’t officially joined Likud, she said she has identified with Netanyahu’s
party for months and is considering a primary run.
Bibi and Shamolov
Berkovich are the third and fourth 18th Knesset Kadima MKs who hope to represent
Likud in the 19th, joining Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter and Tzachi
Netanyahu will have to waive their waiting period in the party
to allow them to run in the primary, as he did with coalition chairman Ze’ev
Elkin, a former Kadima MK who ran with Likud for the 18th Knesset.
and Shamolov Berkovich are also among the four MKs who Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz
attempted to eject from the faction, because they were discussing breaking off
from the party. The Knesset House Committee voted against the move, and the four
others were able to remain in Kadima.
Abesadze entered the 18th Knesset
after Hanegbi’s departure, and supported former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni in the
party primary. She also took part in talks to split Kadima with other Livni
The new Labor candidate, who, like many others running in the
party primary, slept in a tent for much of the summer 2011 social protests,
officially announced her plans on Thursday morning.
Abesadze held a press
conference with Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich on Thursday, where she said that
her dreams have come true, and the latter is her role model.
in Labor as the only real alternative to the current government,” she stated. “I
am on my way to victory.”
Also on Thursday, Ra’anana Mayor Nahum Hofri
announced that he would run in the Labor primary.