Tzipi Livni resigns from Knesset


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former opposition leader Tzipi Livni resigned from Israel’s Knesset.

Livni delivered a prepared statement on Tuesday afternoon announcing her departure from the legislature prior to a meeting with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin at which she submitted her letter of resignation. She did not take any questions from reporters.

"I shall continue to work for a different Israel; our children deserve no less," she told Rivlin upon submitting her resignation.

Livni said that although she was leaving the Knesset, she was not going to absent herself from public life. In a swipe at current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she said in her speech that she was "not sorry for refusing to sell out the government to the haredi Orthodox in order to form a government."

Livni reportedly will remain in the Kadima Party but will not run in the next elections as a candidate. It has been rumored that Livni could join the new party of former journalist Yair Lapid, who registered Yesh Atid (There is a Future) on Sunday. 

Livni lost in the March primary to lead the party to Shaul Mofaz, a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Following his victory, Mofaz called on Livni to remain in the party, saying that "Tzipi, your place is with us."

Both Livni and Mofaz left Likud to join the newly founded Kadima, and in 2008 she edged Mofaz to become its leader. Previous party heads were founder Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, who both went on to become prime minister.

In 1999, two years after leaving her commercial law practice to become a Knesset member in Likud, Livni was given a ministerial portfolio. By 2006 as foreign minister, she was second in command of Kadima, then Israel’s ruling party, and in the 2009 general election she led the party to garner 28 Knesset seats — one more than the second-largest party, Netanyahu’s Likud.

But Livni was unable to form a coalition after Netanyahu assembled a bloc of religious and right-wing parties.

Livni’s resignation comes after a weekend of speculation that Netanyahu will call elections for this fall, a year earlier than mandated. That decision has been put on hold while Netanyahu observes shiva for his father, who died Monday.

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