[QODLink]
Middle East
Ex-Kadima leader Livni resigns as Israeli MP
Former opposition leader Tzipi Livni says she is leaving the Knesset but "not political life".
Last Modified: 02 May 2012 08:32
In a resignation speech the former Kadima party head said the "Jewish and democratic state is in danger" [Reuters]

Tzipi Livni, the former head of Israel's biggest opposition party Kadima, has resigned from parliament, a month after she lost a primary battle for leadership of the centre-right party.

Speculation about Livni's political future had swirled after she suffered defeat at the hands of her challenger Shaul Mofaz in elections held on March 28. Mofaz won 61.7 per cent of the vote.

Her widely expected announcement came as Israel waits to hear the official date for general elections which are to be brought forward from October 2013, and could be held as early as August this year.

Kadima, which won the most parliamentary seats in the 2009 elections but failed to form a government, looks set to do badly in the upcoming vote, with opinion polls suggesting it could lose at least half its seats.

In her resignation speech, Livni, 53, said that Israel was sitting "on a volcano".

'Israel in danger'

"The international clock is ticking and the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is in danger," Livni said.

"For years, Israeli leaders have been burying their heads in the sand, occupying themselves with political exercises and spin and in that time the threat to Israel has only grown."

She has been strongly critical of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition government, and said she had no regrets about her efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinians.

Livni has not said what she will do next, but hinted she might remain in politics in some capacity.

"At this stage I am leaving the Knesset, but I'm not leaving political life," she said.

Livni is a lawyer by training and became head of Kadima after its former leader Ehud Olmert resigned in the face of corruption charges.

A mother of two, she hails from a family of nationalists and began her political career in the Likud party now led by Netanyahu, leaving it along with then-prime minister Ariel Sharon for the newly formed Kadima.

Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.