Tzipi Livni has kept the Israeli public in suspense for weeks on whether or not she would make a return to politics, ahead of early parliamentary elections on January 22. Now they have their answer, before heading to the Saban Center Conference in Washington D.C., Livni has announced she will be forming a new party to challenge incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - according to the Associated Press
Tuesday the former Foreign Minister and opposition leader, released the name of her new party The Movement
as well as its logo. This after meeting Monday with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose government she served in. After his acquittal
of most of the corruption charges leveled against him in October, the 67-year-old Olmert is expected to announce his future political plans tomorrow.
But already her campaign is off to a rough start. Expected to be criticized for being soft on terrorism and defense by the Likud party, and eager to avoid a repeat of the past attacks on her leadership capability - Livni had sought to have Major General Shlomo Yanai join her list of candidates. However the Jerusalem Post reports
, the former commander of Israel's often attacked Southern Command has turned her down.
The recent resignation of Ehud Barak, is expected to cause support on the Israeli left to shift to her side. However, Labor's Shelly Yacimovich begged Tzipi Livni not to form, "another fragment of a party that will further divide the Left," Yacimovich said Monday, but instead join the Labor faction and go after Netanyahu united.
The 54-year-old former Lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Forces, seemingly has a score to settle with the current Prime Minister. In Israel voters elect political parties to Knesset, not a candidate directly. The percentage of votes a party receives will determine how many of the 120 seats in the Israeli parliament they will be given. No party has gained a majority of seats since 1969, thus the party with the most seats
has always been asked to form a coalition.
After the 2009 Legislative Elections, Netanyahu's Likud party won 27 seats, while Livni's Kadima party won 28 seats. However Israeli President Shimon Peres asked
Tzipi Livni to form a government. This was the first time this had occurred in the Jewish state, the conventional wisdom was that Israeli's had mainly voted for the right wing, thus a right wing coalition should form the government.
With a chance to unseat her political rival in sight, Tzipi Livni has until next Thursday to submit her list of candidates, who will run against Israel's right wing coalition. A debate with all the candidates for the Prime Minister's office, is scheduled for New Years Day. According to Arutz Sheva
Benjamin Netanyahu has not announced whether or not he will participate.