Israel: Tzipi Livni, opposition leader, quits parliament


Tzipi Livni former Israeli opposition leader speaks to the press moments before handing in her resignation from the Knesset, Israel's Parliament on May 1, 2012 in Jerusalem.



Former Israeli foreign minister and opposition leader Tzipi Livni resigned from parliament, known as the Knesset, on Tuesday, according to the BBC.

Livni said she would not withdraw from public life but would remain a member of the Kadima party. She lost Kadima's leadership just over a month ago, according to the BBC.

In televised remarks after handing in her resignation, Livni warned, "There is an immediate and urgent need to reach a permanent settlement with the Arab world and the Palestinians," according to Reuters.

As foreign minister, Livni served as the chief negotiator with the Palestinians when Kadima was in power, and her resignation statement stressed the importance of talking peace with the Palestinians.

Replaced by former defense chief Shaul Mofaz as Kadima leader, Livni accused members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government of "burying their heads in the sand, dealing with maneuvering and spin, while the threat to Israel only rises," reported Reuters.

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The New York Times noted that her resignation comes as Israeli politicians plan for elections that will likely be held this fall, adding to speculation that Livni might form or join another party in order to contest elections.

Recent polls also suggest that the Kadima party may have lost more than half of its support since the 2009 elections when it won 28 seats, compared to the Likud party's 27, said The Times.

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After the 2009 elections, it was Netanyahu who formed a government after Livni was unable to find ultra-Orthodox governing partners, noted Reuters. She said in her comments during resignation today, "I do not regret not selling the state to the ultra-Orthodox."

In response to her resignation, Labor chairperson Shelly Yacimovich said, "Livni is a worthy, decent person, who has acquired a great deal of experience in the diplomatic sphere, and her absence in the Knesset will be felt," according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Likud MK Danny Danon said Livni was abandoning a "sinking ship" stating, "Kadima's end seems nearer than ever," according to Haaretz.

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