Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will announce that she is running for Knesset at the helm of a political party this week – most likely on Tuesday, according to reports.
Livni will not form a new party but rather take over a non-functioning party, Hetz, which was registered several years ago by ex-Shinui minister Avraham Poraz.
Leftist pundits are unanimous in estimating that Livni's party will further split the already fractured left wing in the next election. Polls project that Livni's party will receive as many as 10 seats, and according to a Maariv poll it is expected to take votes away from Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid (Future), Labor and Kadima.
Livni reportedly has said she refuses to be in the number two position behind anyone except President Shimon Peres, should he decide to run.
Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich called on Livni Saturday to join Labor instead of running independently.
According to Channel 2, Likud will also lose seats because of Kadima's entry into the race, not because Likud voters will vote for Livni but because of calculations having to do with undecided voters.
On the other side of the political map, the religious Right is also split, with two parties competing with each other – the Jewish Home / National Union, which are expected to merge under the leadership of Naftali Bennett, and the newly formed Power to Israel headed by MKs Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad.
Polls show the Jewish Home / National Union with 9 or 10 Knesset seats – two or three more than the combined power of the two parties in the present Knesset. Some polls show Power to Israel passing the minimum threshold for entry into the Knesset but others do not.