Livni: No one will take this victory from us

Itzik: If Peres chooses Netanyahu, Kadima will go into opposition.

livni kadima 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
livni kadima 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Kadima's journey will come to an end only when it forms the next government "and I head it," party leader Tzipi Livni told a so-called "victory rally" held in Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening. In what might have been an effort to signal to its rivals who really won the elections, Kadima decided to throw a big bash the day before both Kadima and the Likud were scheduled to meet with President Shimon Peres to inform him which MK they believe should form the next government. Though touted as a thank-you gesture to those who participated in its election campaign, the rally also seemed aimed at making a statement: If we are celebrating, we must be the victors. Livni noted that exactly a week earlier, last Tuesday at 10 p.m., the entire nation held its breath as it waited for the TV exit polls. "I stopped holding my breath only after I saw that Kadima passed everyone. And yes, Bibi, too," Livni said. "No one will take this victory from us," she told the gathering. "No one will take this sense that it is possible to make a change in this country and that it is happening. No one will take this away from us. We all did it." Livni said that no magician was capable of erasing "the tens of thousands of people who went out of their houses and voted with hope. "Kadima will not betray the trust these people put in it, when they joined the wave of hope that flowed through the country," she said. "In this era, in which people had given up on politics, we came and proved that there is another way; that we have backbone and an internal compass that shows us consistently what is the right thing to do," she said. "We are going to change this country, because we have no other country. We must live up to the trust that has been placed in us, and we will put the country first," Livni said. Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, who addressed the Kadima activists before Livni arrived, said she believed that Peres would appoint Livni to form the next government, by Friday. "And when he does, Livni will call on Bibi to take part in a unity government, as we promised before the elections," Itzik said. She added that if Peres did not choose Livni, Kadima would be a strong, fighting and dominant opposition party. "No one runs in an election to sit in the opposition, but if we cannot implement our ideology in the government there will be no other way but to sit in the opposition," Itzik said. The event at the Tel Aviv Port attracted hundreds of Kadima supporters who said they were happy, though not all sounded like it. There was plenty of free drinks and snacks, musicians and a long parade of Kadima politicians who shook hands, as Livni's image looked down at them from every wall in the building. Ruti Dennis, 34, an activist from Tel Aviv, said there was only one winner, "and that was Livni. Just like her, I say that 28 [Knesset seats] is more than 27. "We need to be a little patient and see what happens, but I really think we need to give a chance to people who have the skills and the ability to make a change," she said. "They say it's a small victory," said Ahmad Nasser, 26, from Tira, another Kadima activist, "but that is enough for us. "I tell everyone to smile because we won, and even if we go to the opposition we still won," he said.