Former Netanyahu opponent returns
JERUSALEM – Former opposition leader Tzipi Livni, Israel’s most-recognized female politician, threw her hat back in the political ring Tuesday, setting the stage for an election rematch against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Four years ago, Livni, as head of the centrist Kadima Party, beat Netanyahu’s Likud Party by one Knesset seat, but she was unable to form a majority coalition, giving Netanyahu an opportunity to take power.
Few expect her newly formed Movement Party will come close to threatening Netanyahu this time, but her return to the political scene – seven months after she announced she was taking a break – will further reshape Israel’s center-left as it struggles to find a way to confront the nation’s rising right-wing movement.
Livni’s party joins several other center-left parties jockeying for position, including a resurgent Labor Party, her old Kadima Party and a newly formed party led by Yair Lapid, a charismatic former TV broadcaster who is making his first foray into politics.
Some had hoped the various center-left parties would form a super-bloc to challenge Likud.
But Livni opted instead to launch a new own party, meaning the center-left movements will be competing against one another as well as Netanyahu.