Livni to split Center-Left with new centrist party

Tzipi Livni's list will reportedly be called the "National Responsibility Party"; poll: new party would win nine seats.

Tzipi Livni 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Tzipi Livni 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The splintered Center-Left will become even more divided at the beginning of next week when former Kadima head and foreign minister Tzipi Livni is expected to form a new party with allies from Kadima and new candidates who scored well in polls.
Livni’s list will reportedly be called the “National Responsibility Party,” using the name that Livni suggested for Kadima when it was formed at former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s Negev ranch in November 2005.
The party will attempt to provide the “different kind of politics” Livni envisioned for Kadima before it became enveloped in the same internal corruption that plagued the Likud central committee.
To that end, politicians involved in legal troubles like former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former minister Haim Ramon will not be on the list. Olmert is expected to announce that he will not run in the January 22 election at a press conference on Sunday.
Click for full JPost coverage
Click for full JPost coverage
Instead the list will feature Maj.-Gen. (res.) Shlomo Yanai, the respected former chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals, who built up the company’s annual earnings from $8.4 billion to $22b. in five years. A former OC Southern Command, Yanai’s experience dealing with the Gaza Strip could be a key asset for the party following Operation Pillar of Defense.
The list will also include Israel Space Agency chairman Isaac Ben-Israel, who is also a retired major-general, a professor, and briefly a Kadima MK; sucker tent protest leader Boaz Nol, and former ambassador to France Daniel Shek.
The only MKs Livni intends to take from Kadima are her allies Yoel Hasson, Shlomo Molla, Rachel Adatto, Orit Zuaretz, and Robert Tibayev.
Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, who headed the government committee that responded to the July 2011 tent protests, had been talked about as a possible candidate, but he did not leave his government post in time in order to be legally permitted to run.
A Kadima official responded that Livni was still a member of Kadima and noted that she said at a public forum two weeks ago that it would be wrong to further divide the Center-Left bloc.
“Tzipi Livni is not missed,” the official said. “She has failed time and time again, brought down the party to single digits in the polls, and left it NIS 30 million in debt, so who would give her another chance?”
A Channel 2 poll broadcast Thursday night on Nissim Mishal’s television show found that Likud-Beytenu would win 38 seats. The poll also found that Livni’s new party would win nine seats, taking support away from Kadima, which it predicted would not pass the electoral threshold, Labor which was shown to win 19 seats and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party, which would win only four seats.
A Panels poll broadcast Thursday on the Knesset Channel found that the Likud’s support had fallen to 33 seats due to the public’s opposition to the ceasefire that ended Operation Pillar of Defense on Wednesday. The poll found that the main beneficiaries of the public’s frustration was Habayit Hayehudi, which according to the poll would win 13 mandates and MK Arieh Eldad’s new Strength for Israel Party, with four seats.