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Photo by: Courtesy of Tzipi Livni Party
Disappointed Livni mum on coalition options
By NIV ELIS
01/23/2013
After winning estimated 6 seats in election, Tzipi Livni hints that advancing peace process remains her top priority.
 
After winning an estimated six seats for her party in Tuesday’s election, an outwardly disappointed Tzipi Livni remained mum on whether she planned to join the next government coalition, but hinted that advancing the peace process would remain her top priority.

“It’s no secret that we entered the race late, and no secret that we thought the issue we believe in and will not stop believing in for a moment – the diplomatic issue – would have greater support. But that’s democracy,” Livni said at her party’s Tel Aviv headquarters. She was flanked by the five others in her party who will accompany her to the Knesset: Amram Mitzna, Amir Peretz, Elazar Stern, Meir Sheetrit and David Tzur.

Though the party laid out core principles of peace, social justice, the environment and religious pluralism in its platform, the peace process was the only one Livni mentioned on Wednesday. The emphasis was perhaps the largest difference between her campaign agenda and that of Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party outperformed the polls to become the second-largest party.

“We came with a clear agenda, and any place we will be – or not be – will advance our agenda,” Livni continued, adding that with the final votes still being counted and coalition negotiations not officially underway, she would not discuss her criteria or intentions to enter the coalition or opposition.

She brushed off a Yediot Aharonot report citing “sources close to Livni” as saying that she was eager to join the coalition, having been burned by her last experience in the opposition.

“I don’t have any ‘close sources,’” she quipped. “Nobody is authorized to speak for me.”

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Livni said that despite the poor showing at the polls, there were “two things that nobody can take away from us.

“The first is that we put the diplomatic issue on Israel’s agenda,” she stated. “I came back and said that peace isn’t a dirty word, that we would work to achieve it and we will fight for this issue. This is not an election slogan, but our essence.”

The second, she said, was that her party had achieved its goal of expanding the Left’s political bloc.

“They accused us of fracturing the bloc, and here, with the announcement of the election results, we created a draw and strengthened the moderate bloc in Israel,” she said, referring to the roughly even number of seats the Left and Right blocs racked up in the election.

Amir Peretz, who left Labor to join Livni’s party, added to the sentiment, saying it was time to leave the campaign behind and work with the other parties on the Left.

When asked why her party did not succeed, Livni paused for a moment to consider the question before replying.

“Of course we strived for more. This is what the public wanted, and we respect the public,” she said, vowing to make good on the trust voters had put in her.

Despite the poor showing, Livni promised to stick around for the long haul, saying the small size of her party was only a temporary setback.

“We intend to continue the fight, and if it will have to be a marathon, it will be a marathon,” she proclaimed.
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