Former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni was motivated by her ego in choosing to form a new party, Yesh Atid (Future) chairman Yair Lapid charged on Tuesday evening. TV personality Yair Lapid's new party is expected to be affected adversely by the move.
"Israel does not need another centrist party. It splits, it weakens the center and is mostly redundant," Lapid said, hours after Livni announced she would be running for the 19th Knesset at the helm of an independent party, called “The Movement,” which attracted several MKs of the largely defunct Kadima party.
"I do not usually attack other leaders, so I'll just mention that in this case my hands are truly clean,” said Lapid. “I did all I could to bring about a union of forces in the center, because we came to make a change. And I believe that is what the State of Israel needs.”
He said, “For reasons of ego, Ms. Livni refused all our offers, and it is her right to do so, but she will have to bear responsibility before the Israeli electorate. In any case we’ve put this behind us.”
Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich also criticized Livni’s decision on Tuesday. Livni had rejected offers by both Lapid and Yechimovich to be their number two and thus bring about a union in Israel’s center-left bloc, similar to the union between the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu on the right and the expected unity between the religious Zionist Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) and the Ichud Leumi (National Union).
In a press conference she held on Tuesday afternoon Yechimovich said, “Someone who knows how to make decisions and does not change his agenda every moment is one who is fit to lead.”
"Forming another centrist party is a mistake," she added, and called "to unify the lines in order to be a major force that will topple Netanyahu.”
"The election will be between two people representing different perspectives - Netanyahu and me,” said Yechimovich. "I call on the right-leaning public which is moderate and social and which loves the State to connect with the social debate that has taken place in Israel over the past two years."
She stated that Labor’s world view is very broad and “answers all the desires of those who seek to live in this country under a fair economy and a desire for peace.”
Meanwhile, Army Radio reported on Tuesday night that Livni has not yet secured the seven Knesset members from Kadima that she would need to have join her party in order to be able to transfer their campaign funding.
The report said that Livni currently only has six Kadima members that have indicated they would join her.