Global Politics

Kadima front runner

In many ways, Tzipi Livni is the opposite of Olmert. Olmert is known for his lavish tastes and wild spending. Olmert is known for his back slapping and warm ways, whereas Livni is seen as cold and all business and critics say she lacks the experience in security matters to become prime minister. Yet she's still been dubbed Mrs. Queen and this commentator says Israelis seem eager for something different, and her austerity while not always great, does give her a fresh perception. Livni is a relatively new comer to Israeli politics, and was first elected to the Knesset in 1995 as part of the right wing Likuud Party. Ten years later she defected and joined the centrist Kadmi Party. For Livni, support for a two-state solution was a dramatic shift. She was raised in a so-called fighting family, and her father was a member of a militant movement which fought for all-Jewish control of Palestine in the 1930s and 40s. but Livni says she now believes Israel could not maintain its democracy while occupying the West Bank. As foreign minister, Livni has become the primary agent of negotiations with the Palestinians and has met almost weekly with the chief negotiator of the Palestinians. The Palestinians describe her as tough, and she has refused to consider the refugee question for Palestinians. She has been open to discussing border issues for a two-state solution. Livni is often compared to Condoleezza Rice: both are powerful, articulate women in their 50s. Livni says she's ready to be prime minister and she hopes to sign an agreement with the Palestinians that would lead to an independent Palestinian state, but that these things also take time.

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