Tzipi Livni announced she quits politics on February 18, 2019.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni announced that she was quitting politics and will not run in the April 9 election at a tear-filled press conference Monday at Tel Aviv’s Beit Sokolow.
Without mentioning Yesh Atid, Labor or the Israel Resilience Party, Livni conceded that she did not succeed in bringing about the mega-bloc on the Center-Left that she had been working on for months.
“There needed to be one bloc to bring about a political upheaval, but it didn’t happen,” said Livni. “I worked for the joining of forces. This time, it didn’t work.”
Livni broke out in tears when she asked for forgiveness from everyone who wrote her asking not to leave politics. She said she is leaving knowing that she did all she could for her country.
“I always said first country, then party, then me,” she said. “I am once again setting myself aside and announcing that my Hatnua Party will not run. We don’t have enough power to run alone. I wouldn’t forgive myself if votes cast for me were lost.”
No recent polls have predicted the party crossing the 3.25% electoral threshold. Polls broadcast on Channel 12 and KAN Sunday night predicted 1.1% and 0.5%, respectively, for her party.
Livni bashed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on her way out, lamenting that under his leadership, “Left” has become a bad word. She accused him of repeatedly harming democracy and attacking the press.
“I am leaving politics, but I won’t let hope for peace leave Israel,” she concluded. “I’m sure this path will return and will win.”
Labor leader Avi Gabbay unceremoniously kicked Livni out of the Zionist Union alliance on live television on January 1. Since then, Hatnua failed to attract a following.
Neither Labor, Yesh Atid nor the Israel Resilience Party expressed interest in having Livni on their lists ahead of Thursday’s deadline for lists to be submitted to the Central Elections Committee.
Since entering the Knesset in 1999, Livni has run with Likud, Kadima, Hatnua and the Zionist Union. She has served as foreign minister, justice minister, regional cooperation minister, construction and housing minister, and immigration and absorption minister.
She came close to becoming prime minister in 2008 but did not succeed in forming a government after former prime minister Ehud Olmert resigned. In the 2009 election, she led Kadima to one more seat than Netanyahu’s Likud, but he was asked to form the government.
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