Kadima's Tzipi Livni says goodbye

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 3, 2012
Livni: a feisty farewell

Livni: a feisty farewell

A meteoric, 13-year parliamentary career which twice brought Tzipi Livni to the brink of Israel's premiership, came to an end on Tuesday, when the former leader of Kadima announced she was resigning from the Knesset "but not leaving public life".

In a press conference at the Knesset, she said: "I respect the decision of the Kadima voters and I wish Shaul [Mofaz] good luck. Most of the party members chose him and he has to lead the movement in his way… The results oblige me to leave the Knesset. I am leaving at this stage, but not leaving public life." She warned of an increasing tribalism within Israeli society.

Ms Livni did not resist some parting shots. "I do not regret not having surrendered to political blackmail, even when the price was the premiership," she said, "and not agreeing to sell the country to the Charedim. Neither do I regret not being a partner in the current government, which is dragging Israel down."

A lawyer and for a short while an officer in the Mossad, Ms Livni, 54, entered the Knesset in 1999 and following Ariel Sharon's election in 2001, served in a quick succession of ministerial positions, joining him after he left Likud and set up Kadima. She was appointed foreign minister in 2006.

Last updated: 2:02pm, May 3 2012