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Kadima’s Livni Resigns From the Knesset

Former opposition leader Tzipi Livni resigned from Israel’s Knesset.

Livni delivered a prepared statement on Tuesday afternoon announcing her departure from the legislature prior to a meeting with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin at which she submitted her letter of resignation. She did not take any questions from reporters.

“I shall continue to work for a different Israel, our children deserve no less,” she told Rivlin upon submitting her resignation.

Livni said that although she was leaving the Knesset, she was not going to absent herself from public life. She said in her speech that she was “not sorry for refusing to sell out the government to the haredi Orthodox in order to form a government,” a swipe at current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Livni was defeated at the end of March in a primary to lead the party by Shaul Mofaz, a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Following his victory, Mofaz called on Livni to remain in the party, saying “Tzipi, your place is with us.”

Both Livni and Mofaz left the Likud Party to join the newly founded Kadima Party. In 2008, Livni narrowly beat Mofaz to become Kadima’s leader. Previous party heads were founder Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.

In 1999, two years after leaving her commercial law practice to become a Knesset member in the Likud Party, Livni was given a ministerial portfolio. By 2006 as foreign minister, she was second in command of Kadima, then Israel’s ruling party, and in the 2009 general election Livni led Kadima to garner 28 Knesset seats, one seat more than the second-largest party, Netanyahu’s Likud.

But Livni was unable to form a coalition after Netanyahu assembled a bloc of religious and right-wing parties.

Livni’s resignation comes after a weekend of speculation that Netanyahu will call elections for this fall, a year earlier than mandated. THat decision has been put on hold while Netanyahu observes shiva for his father, who died on Monday.

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