Olmert and Livni
Olmert and Livni Israel News Photo: Flash 90

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni agreed on Wednesday that “a government change” in Israel is necessary.

The remarks were made in a joint statement published after the two met in Olmert’s office in Tel Aviv. The meeting was described as positive.

“During the meeting, the two agreed that given the situation that Israel has deteriorated to in recent years, in all areas, the government must change,” said the statement quoted by Channel 10 News. The two said they will continue their talks in the coming days.

Wednesday’s meeting was the latest in a series of meetings between Olmert and Livni, who are contemplating whether to run in the elections to be held in January. Livni has been holding talks with several factors in the center-left, including Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich.

Olmert has been contemplating a return to politics for a while, but at one point his associates said he likely will not run this time, because of his legal issues. He faces an appeal by the prosecution over the light verdict and sentence he was given by the Jerusalem District Court in July, as well as charges of bribery in the Holyland apartment project, re-zoned for construction when he was mayor of Jerusalem.

At the same time, Olmert’s associates indicated that last week’s union between the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu has caused him to change his mind and consider running after all. The Netanyahu-Lieberman union, they said, reinforced Olmert’s feelings that a strong center-left bloc should be formed to run against them.

As for Livni, another incentive for her to return may be the reports that minister Moshe Cachlon is considering forming his own party and running in the next election.

A poll carried out by the Smith Institute and released Tuesday predicted that a party headed by Cachlon would receive 20 Knesset seats, versus 32 for the Likud/Yisrael Beytenu list.

The poll also found that if former Livni joins Cachlon and runs as his number two, the party would receive 27 seats, while Likud Beytenu would receive only 30 seats.