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Sheetrit joins Livni party, legalizing Kadima split
By GIL HOFFMAN
12/02/2012
Tzipi Livni attracts 7th Kadima MK to her party, making it possible to split part and win more than NIS 9 million in party funding.
 
Meir Sheetrit on Sunday became the seventh Kadima MK Tzipi Livni attracted to her new party, the number needed for the Kadima party split to become legal and to win more than NIS 9 million in party funding.

Former Kadima leader Livni announced her political comeback on Tuesday and immediately began efforts to split her former party.

At a Tel Aviv press conference, she revealed that her party would be called “The Movement Led by Tzipi Livni” in Hebrew, and her associates asked that it be called “The Tzipi Livni Party” in English.

Following the press conference, Livni got six political allies in Kadima to sign forms committing to leave for her party: MKs Shlomo Molla, Yoel Hasson, Majallie Whbee, Rachel Adatto, Robert Tibayev and Orit Zuaretz.

While the six were legally permitted to leave Kadima on their own, Livni could only ask the Knesset House Committee for the NIS 1.3m. in party funding that each MK is worth – 60 percent of which is given in a lump sum as a down payment – if she could find a seventh MK willing to jump ship.

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Time allotted for election commercials on television and radio is also determined by how many MKs parties have.

In an interview with Army Radio, Sheetrit said he thought that Tzipi Livni was continuing Kadima's initial path.

"I want to continue to advance my diplomatic and socioeconomic agenda," he told Israel Radio. "I think Tzipi Livni is continuing the initial path of Kadima of raising the diplomatic issue and dealing with the socioeconomic issues I have dealt with for years."

He said that even though he criticized and opposed her in the last election, "in the current situation" he thought the right thing to do was to join Livni. "I told (Kadima leader Shaul) Mofaz about my decision before I told her (Livni)," he added.

Sheetrit also mentioned that he had considered forming a new party together with the Pensioners, and he had also thought about retiring.

"I publicly criticized Mofaz for entering the government, which I said would destroy the party. I tried unsuccessfully to split the party then," Sheetrit pointed out.

He stated that he had always had very good relations with Livni, although he thought she made several mistakes which he unsuccessfully tried to prevent her from making. "Livni has the best numbers to run against Bibi (Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.) If everyone drops their ego and all the Center-Left parties join together, maybe we can even topple the government," Sheetrit opined.

Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz worked hard last week to persuade his MKs not to defect to the party being formed by Livni, whom he defeated by a landslide eight months ago in the party’s leadership race.

Livni reached out to almost every Kadima MK, regardless of their ideology and past history.

“Livni has surpassed every limit of chutzpa,” Kadima MK Shai Hermesh said. “We will tear her apart. We will make sure the public knows she cannot even run a corner store. We won’t let her raid our party’s coffers after she left it NIS 34m. in debt.”

Former Labor leader Amram Mitzna was also due to hold a press conference in Tel Aviv Sunday to announce that he will join The Tzipi Livni Party and be its number two candidate in the January 22 election.

Mitzna, who has served as mayor of Haifa and Yeroham ran unsuccessfully for prime minister against Ariel Sharon in 2003. He ran again for Labor leader last year and finished in last place
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