MKs Bibi, Abesadze, Shamalov-Berkovich quit Kadima

With 90 days until elections, Kadima MK's bolt party for Labor, Likud as it becomes permissible without resigning from Knesset.

MK Arye Bibi with PM Netanyahu 390 (photo credit: Arye Bibi / Facebook)
MK Arye Bibi with PM Netanyahu 390
(photo credit: Arye Bibi / Facebook)
Three MKs left Kadima on Thursday to run for the 19th Knesset with other parties.
Nino Abesadze is set to join Labor and Yulia Shamolov Berkovich and Arieh Bibi are turning to Likud.
Thursday marked 90 days to the January 22 election, the first day MKs could legally leave their parties for another without resigning from the Knesset.
“I’m proud to go back to Likud, the natural place for me,” Bibi said on Wednesday in a meeting in which he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu his change of affiliation.
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Shamolov Berkovich left Kadima on Thursday, and while she hasn’t officially joined Likud, she said she has identified with Netanyahu’s party for months and is considering a primary run.
Bibi and Shamolov Berkovich are the third and fourth 18th Knesset Kadima MKs who hope to represent Likud in the 19th, joining Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter and Tzachi Hanegbi.
Netanyahu will have to waive their waiting period in the party to allow them to run in the primary, as he did with coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin, a former Kadima MK who ran with Likud for the 18th Knesset.
Bibi and Shamolov Berkovich are also among the four MKs who Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz attempted to eject from the faction, because they were discussing breaking off from the party. The Knesset House Committee voted against the move, and the four others were able to remain in Kadima.
Abesadze entered the 18th Knesset after Hanegbi’s departure, and supported former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni in the party primary. She also took part in talks to split Kadima with other Livni supporters.
The new Labor candidate, who, like many others running in the party primary, slept in a tent for much of the summer 2011 social protests, officially announced her plans on Thursday morning.
Abesadze held a press conference with Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich on Thursday, where she said that her dreams have come true, and the latter is her role model.
“I believe in Labor as the only real alternative to the current government,” she stated. “I am on my way to victory.”
Also on Thursday, Ra’anana Mayor Nahum Hofri announced that he would run in the Labor primary.