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    18-Feb-2019

Far behind in Polls, Israel's Livni Quits Politics

 

AFP

 

Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, whose party has trailed far behind in polls ahead of April 9 elections, announced Monday she was retiring from politics.
 
Livni, who gained international recognition in part thanks to her past role as a negotiator with the Palestinians, also said her Hatnua party would not run in the elections.
 
The 60-year-old said in a statement before journalists in Tel Aviv she was bringing her party to "an end ... knowing I did all I could for my beloved state and to unite the forces that would fight for it. It's not up to me any more."
 
Livni, who also previously served in the Mossad spy agency, narrowly missed out on becoming prime minister after 2009 elections.
 
She had recently helped lead Israel's main opposition, the center-left Zionist Union alliance, but a split in January ended the arrangement that also included the Labor party.
 
Labour party leader Avi Gabbay dramatically announced then that he would no longer partner with Livni as she sat stone-faced next to him.
 
While the Zionist Union won the second-most seats in the last general election in 2015, it more recently tumbled in opinion polls.
 
Livni sought to mount a campaign for April 9 elections outside the Zionist Union, but struggled to gain any traction or form the large alliance she sought. 
 
Labour and Gabbay have also faltered in opinion polls.
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to remain premier after the elections, polls consistently show, despite a series of corruption investigations into his affairs.
 
The attorney general is however expected to announce in the coming weeks whether he intends to indict Netanyahu, and an announcement before the elections could shake up the campaign.
 
The right-wing prime minister's main challenger is seen as former military chief of staff Benny Gantz and his centrist Israel Resilience party.
 
 

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