Livni Laments State of Democracy in Farewell

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

Senior Israeli left-wing politician Tzipi Livni said on Monday she was leaving politics and warned “democracy is in danger.”

“I am leaving politics but I will not let Israel abandon the hope for peace,” a tearful Livni told a news conference in Tel Aviv.

“These past years have been hard for me and for the things I believed in … peace became a dirty word, and democracy is in danger,” she said, citing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s criticism of legal authorities conducting corruption probes against him and attacks he has made on the local media.

Livni was a peace negotiator with the Palestinians under prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.

Opinion polls have shown that Livni’s Hatnua party would win no seats in the Knesset in the April election in which the right wing, led by PM Netanyahu’s Likud party, looks likely to prevail.