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article imageFormer minister Livni named Israel opposition leader

By AFP     Jul 23, 2018 in Politics

Israeli lawmaker and former minister Tzipi Livni was named leader of the opposition on Monday, a joint statement by her and the head of the Labour party said.

Once a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud, Livni quit the party in 2005.

The 59-year-old replaces as opposition leader former Labour chief Isaac Herzog, who resigned his seat in parliament to become head of the Jewish Agency, the quasi-governmental body that deals with Jewish immigration to Israel.

Labour is the largest single opposition party in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, but its chairman Avi Gabbay is barred from serving as opposition leader as he is not a lawmaker.

Livni has extensive government experience, having served as foreign minister, justice minister, deputy premier and immigration minister.

After quitting Netanyahu's Likud, she joined the more centrist Kadima set up by Ariel Sharon.

The veteran politician headed Kadima from 2008 to 2012, before setting up a new party, centre-left Hatnua (The Movement).

Ahead of the last general elections in 2015, Hatnua allied with Labour to form the Zionist Union, winning 24 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, to become the largest opposition force.

Also in opposition to Netanyahu's coalition government are the left-wing Meretz party, centrist Yesh Atid, the mainly Arab Joint List alliance and independent MP Orly Levi-Abekasis.

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