Livni, Defiant, Pledges to Stick Around
Sees centrist party as counterweight to right-wing Israeli leadership
You will continue to have Tzipi Livni to kick around, if that’s your thing. The leader of the centrist Kadima Party, who served as foreign minister during last year’s Gaza conflict, insists that she will survive her current political turmoil, which has seen Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu try to lure away top officials in her party even while her number two talks coup and schism. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she insisted on her and her party’s continued relevance. She also pledged to continue refusing to join the governing coalition led by Netanyahu’s Likud Party; Kadima will not be “a fig leaf” for a turn away from some semblance of a two-state road map, she said.
Part of the problem facing Livni is that Kadima was founded in unique circumstances: it was essentially created by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to embody the coalition that he led, which was appreciably to the right of the left-wing Labor Party even as it broke with Likud by supporting unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. But now, Sharon is done (his stroke-induced coma recently passed the four-year mark), while Hamas rule in Gaza has, to many, repudiated the wisdom of Kadima’s signature policy. Perhaps most importantly, the one-time success of Kadima compelled Labor to move right and Likud to inch left, creating less of a logical niche for a truly centrist coalition. In winning the ideological battle, Kadima may have lost the political one.
Then again, Kadima also has (by one member) the most representatives in the parliament. It is hard to argue that the party is dead, even though it is easier to argue that it is getting there.