Livni Switches to Labor Party

YERUSHALAYIM -

The long-touted center-left bloc to defeat Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu achieved a concrete result on Wednesday night as former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Labor party leader Isaac Herzog announced they will run together.

At a joint press conference in Tel Aviv, they declared that, if elected, they would take turns serving as prime minister.

“When we get the mandate from the president, I will be the prime minister for the first two years and Tzipi Livni will be prime minister for the following two years,” Herzog said. A similar rotation occurred in the past — when Shimon Peres and Yitzchak Shamir took turns.

“We are working together for the citizens of Israel and against the right-wing extremist parties,” Livni said, giving a taste of what the campaign will be like.

The Knesset Channel poll found that a list led by Herzog and Livni would gain 23 mandates, while the Likud would receive only 21.

Labor officials anticipate that Livni will increase their number of Knesset seats from a projected 17. But for Livni the merger is even more vital; running alone she would not even pass the electoral threshold, according to the poll.

It was also noted that with this move, Livni has attained the remarkable political feat of having been in four different parties in 10 years. After starting out in Likud, she followed Ariel Sharon to Kadima, which he founded when the Likud splintered over his unilateral evacuation from Gaza. She left Kadima after losing the chairmanship to Shaul Mofaz. Then she put together her own Movement party, which sent her back to the 19th Knesset, and it just dissolved. And now, Labor.