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      Ramon Proposes Yet Another 'Centrist Party'

      Haim Ramon, who left Kadima after it entered the Netanyahu government, says Israel needs a centrist alternative to the Likud.
      By Gabe Kahn
      First Publish: 5/10/2012, 5:22 PM

      Haim Ramon
      Haim Ramon
      Flash 90

      Haim Ramon on Thursday said he wants to build a new centrist party to replace Kadima.

      Ramon, resigned on Teusday from his post as head Kadima's Central Committee following party leader Shaul Mofaz's decision to enter the Likud-led coalition of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

      Speaking to Radio Kol Israel, Ramon claimed "Most Israelis are looking for a centrist party. Netanyahu pretends to be a centrist, even though he heads an extremist right-wing government."

      Ramon also said "Tzipi Livni was ousted as Kadima chairwoman because she refused to join the Netanyahu government, and members of the Likud and Kadima conspired to forge a unity government over her objections."

      He also ruled out joining the Labor party saying that – under Shelly Yachimovich – it has become "a radical leftist party that claims it is the only choice for social justice."

      Ramon's suggestion that a new centrist party be created follows Israel's election cycle trend of new parties emerging that are essentially identical to failed parties that have fallen by the wayside.

      Journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid this year, as Israel prepared to go to elections ahead of the bombshell Netanyahu-Mofaz announcement a 94-seat unity government had been formed, launched his Atid [Future] Party.

      Atid, already branded the "sane" and "centrist" alternative to Kadima by Lapid, is essentially a facsimile of his late father's militantly secular Shinui party that rose to prominence with 12 seats during the premiership of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

      Shinui imploded in Israel's last elections and disappeared from the Jewish state's political map.

      MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) said Ramon's decision to leave the Kadima in favor of lobbying to form a new party was misguided.

      "Anyone who thinks that Kadima can only exist under the leadership of Livni or Mofaz sins against the truth," Dichter said.

      Ditcher bowed out of Kadima’s recent party primaries and threw the weight of his supporters behind Mofaz to secure Livni's ouster.

      "I do not suggest anyone try to eulogize Kadima," Dichter said.