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Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin: Israel Needs New Elections

An outspoken opponent of his friend Arik Sharon's disengagement plan, the Knesset Speaker says that a government that turns its back on its campaign platform must ask again for the public's mandate.
First Publish: 1/18/2005, 5:12 PM / Last Update: 1/18/2005, 1:53 PM

Meeting yesterday in the Knesset with foreign ambassadors to Israel, the long-time Likud ideologue said that a party that went to the public with a particular approach, and then turned it completely around - must return to the nation.

Rivlin, who says he remains loyal to the teachings of the Likud's spiritual father Ze'ev Jabotinsky, explained that he does support the call for a referendum. "I don't agree with this approach," he said. "Instead, we must have new elections."

The Knesset Speaker explained to the ambassadors that in the national election campaign of two years ago, one of the main issues was a proposal by Labor Party candidate Amram Mitzna to withdraw unilaterally from all of Gaza. Sharon took the opposite position, telling his Cabinet only three weeks before the January 2003 election, "Amram Mitzna's plan, which is essentially a continuation of [former Prime Minister Ehud] Barak's plan, is an irresponsible plan; it's a drastic mistake."