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Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, to lead new party

Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, announced she would lead a new centrist party to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tzipi livni israel new party challenge netanyahu november 28 2012Enlarge
Israel's former foreign minister Tzipi Livni announces her return to politics during a press conference in Tel Aviv on November 27, 2012. Livni announced her return at the helm of a new party called The Movement, nearly seven months after she stepped aside following a primary defeat. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli politician Tzipi Livni returned to politics after a six-month hiatus, announcing that she would lead a new centrist party, the Movement, to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming elections.

Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, was raised in the Likud, but later led the centrist Kadima party, according to The Washington Post.

While announcing her intention to compete in the election set for January 22, Livni called herself "an answer to the contention that there is no one to vote for," said The New York Times.

"I've come to fight for Israel," she said in a speech in Tel Aviv. She said she would fight for peace, for a Jewish Israel, for a democratic Israel, "a state in which all, but all of its citizens, with no difference of nationality and religion, are citizens with equal rights," said The Times.

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Livni's party will join many similar center-left parties which are pitted against the powerful coalition of right-wing parties led by Netanyahu. The Daily Beast noted that primaries in Netanyahu's Likud party brought hardliners to the fore, pushing the party further to the right.

A poll published on Wednesday by Israeli newspaper Haaretz suggested that the Israeli public's response to Livni's return was lukewarm and she would not add any votes to the center-left bloc.

The poll said Livni's party, the Movement, would win only seven seats in the 120-seat parliament, leaving Netanyahu's merger with Avigdor Liberman's party, Likud-Beitenu, with 39 seats, according to Bloomberg. The Likud-Beitenu coalition would have more than twice the number of seats compared to its nearest challenger, the Labor party, with 18 seats.

The Post noted that Livni's centrist rivals denounced her announcement as a selfish bid that would divide votes against Netanyahu further.

Bloomberg noted that in 2009, the Livni-led Kadima party won more seats than Likud but failed to build a ruling coalition, allowing Netanyahu to take power.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/121128/tzipi-livni-israels-former-foreign-min