chairwoman Tzipi Livni
ended weeks of speculation on Tuesday and announced she is running in the upcoming Knesset elections
as the head of a new party called "Hatnua." It is unclear who will be joining her on the ticket. She has one week to comprise her list.
Shortly after Livni's announcement three Kadima Knesset members – Yoel Hasson, Rachel Adato and Shlomo Molla – resigned from the party. They are expected to join Livni's new party." Other Kadima MKs are expected to follow in their footsteps.
"I'm here to fight," Livni said at a press conference in Tel Aviv, "there is no alternative to the prime minister and there is no one that represents our views on the critical issues."
Commenting on the Likud primaries,
she said, "Netanyahu
lost in the Likud and can lose the election. It was Feiglin's win and Netanyahu's loss."
She further added, "I'm here to fight for Israel, not against anything. I'm here to fight for peace, for security, for a Jewish Israel, for a democratic Israel, for a country whose citizens all have equal rights."
Activists rally outside Beit Sokolov (Photo: Moti Kimhi)
"Many have already given up on this election but I have decided there must be an alternative and that I will provide an answer to those who have no one to vote for. A ballot should be about hope not despair."
Livni hopes Tuesday's announcement will carry her in the polls and help her be seen as a viable alternative to Netanyahu and Lieberman. Her associates said she is not ruling out partnerships with other lists in the future.
Members of the leftist-centrist bloc criticized Livni for dividing the camp that seeks to topple Netanyahu.
The Labor party said in response, "Tzipi Livni, an admirable woman, is making a big mistake." The statement said that Livni's move only serves to strengthen Netanyahu and Lieberman.
Kadima members wished her the former chairwoman luck but wondered what she could accomplish with just a few Knesset seats "after failing to achieve anything with 28 mandates" in the previous elections. "This is an ill-conceived political move. Instead of uniting the bloc Livni has decided to divide it."
Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On claimed that Livni is weakening her opponents in the center.
Tzipi Livni in Tel Aviv (Photo: Moti Kimhi)
Livni has refused two offers to join existing political parties. Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said Sunday he has Livni to be his No. 2 at the party. "I've had many talks with Tzipi Livni over the past few days," he wrote on his Facebook page.
"She was offered the No. 2 spot at the Yesh Atid list and to be a full partner in all major decisions. A split in the centrist bloc is not good for Israel and I call on her to join forces and change the country together."
On Saturday, Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich called on Livni to join the Labor.
Moran Azulay is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent