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Amid criticism, Livni calls for Center-Left vote
By JPOST.COM STAFF, GIL HOFFMAN
08/01/2013
Livni says vote for any Center-Left party is a vote for all parties in the bloc, reasserts call to form a "countering force" to Netanyahu.
 
Amid harsh criticism from her fellow Center-Left bloc party leaders, Tzipi Livni reiterated her plan on Tuesday to form a "countering force" to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his partners in the Right.

Livni called on the public to vote for a Center-Left party, and said it is less important if that vote was to be for her party, for Labor or for Yesh Atid.

"The Center is us, the message to the public should be 'vote for one of the parties in the [Center-Left] bloc,' as any vote for one of our parties is another vote for all of us," she said.

"We must present a moderate front facing the extreme front of [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and his extreme partners," she stressed.

Livni also reasserted she would recommend someone from the Center-Left bloc for prime minister following the January 22 election, and vowed not to sit in an extreme Right-Haredi government without Labor and Yesh Atid.

Livni promised to work with Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid to "ensure every decision [made by the bloc] will be a joint decision."

Labor slammed Livni in response, saying "it is unfortunate that Tzipi Livni hasn't realized yet that our battle is against Netanyahu and the Right, and not a struggle among the Center-Left parties."

"The public is tired of [Livni's] attempt to have it both ways, and wants to hear clear statements like that of Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich," Labor MK Eitan Cabel said.

Likud also responded to Livni's accusations, saying "the real danger to Israel is Livni and the way of withdrawal and cession that her and her friends in the Left are trying to advance."

"Livni, that initiated the evacuation from Gush Katif, helped Hamas gain power in Gaza, negotiated the division of Jerusalem and whose mistakes caused thousands of rockets to fall on the cities of Israel, is the last person that can talk about hope," the spokesman added.

On Monday, Yacimovich and Lapid ganged up on Livni, complaining that her efforts to unite the Center-Left bloc were really intended to build up her party at their expense.

Yacimovich and Lapid released a joint statement attacking Livni, after she blamed them for the fact that no cooperation resulted from a late-night meeting between the three of them. They said Livni presented a false account of what had happened in the meeting.

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“We came to the meeting out of mutual respect, despite our many ideological differences,” Yacimovich and Lapid said. “We were shocked to discover that we were merely the backdrop for a well-thought-out spin campaign lacking any truth and substance. It is now clear that the meeting was a desperate political trick by Livni, whose party is deteriorating in the polls.”

A Dialog poll broadcast on Channel 10 revealed that The Tzipi Livni Party had fallen to only seven seats, well below the 17 predicted for Labor and 11 for Yesh Atid. Likud Beytenu rose in the poll for the first time in a month, climbing back to 35 mandates.

Yacimovich and Lapid said Livni prevented the Center-Left bloc from being formed before the parties’ candidate lists were submitted, and now she continues making mistakes, causing rifts and harming efforts to create a proper alternative to an extremist government.

Following Lapid and Yacimovich's statement on Monday, Livni released a fierce response, accusing them of rejecting any possible proposal and preferring to malign her rather than cooperate for the good of the public.

“Their violent and unnecessary statement unfortunately shows they coordinated their stances before and after the meeting to prevent the worrisome truth from coming out: They are playing a personal game for their own narrow interests instead of supporting the only plan that can give hope to the public,” Livni said.

The plan Livni proposed at the meeting, which took place at Lapid’s mother’s house in Tel Aviv, entailed forming a joint campaign against Netanyahu ahead of the election and after the race, insisting on all three parties either joining the coalition or remaining in the opposition.

“We should force Netanyahu to either form a national unity government with all our parties on the basis of what we believe in or a narrow, right-wing extremist government that will not last,” Livni said. “Unfortunately, we did not reach an agreement, but I don’t intend to give up.”
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