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Israel's labor and centrist parties join hands

December 10, 2014

Israel's Labor party and former minister Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah are coming together to contest general elections to take place in March 2015. The alliance hopes to rout Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from parliament.

Israel Livni Herzog
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Jim Hollander

Opposition Labor Party head Isaac Herzog has announced that his party will contest next year's snap elections in March together with former justice minister Tzipi Livni's Centrist party.

"When we receive the mandate…I shall serve as prime minister for the first two years and Tzipi Livni will serve as prime minister for the second half," Herzog said in a conference that was broadcast on television.

Close call for Netanyahu

Herzog also pledged to end Israel's deadlock over Palestine and bring "security instead of fear, dialogue instead of hatred."

Speaking at the address, Livni said she would "produce the force-multiplier that will replace the government of Israel." Hatnuah and Labor would release a joint list of candidates for the polls in March and the alliance could also bring in other parties, Livni added.

Livni was expelled from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government last week along with finance minister Yair Lapid, thus dissolving the ruling coalition and leading to Netanyahu calling early mid-term elections.

A survey published by the Maariv newspaper estimates that Livni and Herzog's coalition could win them 23 seats in Israel's 120-member parliament, the Knesset. Netanyahu's Likud could get some 21 seats.

'Demolition contractor'

The Likud party was dismissive of Livni's claims. "Livni is nothing less than a demolition contractor whose only interest is a seat in the cabinet, not values," the Likud said of the former justice minister, who has switched parties three times since 2005, and failed thrice in her attempts to become prime minister.

Likud was also wary of the opposition coalition's pro-Palestine leanings. "Livni's alliance with Hertzog is Abu Mazen's dream team," Likud said in a statement, referring to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who also goes by the name Abu Mazen. The party is expected to join up with the far-right Jewish Home party, which has been polling between 16-18 seats.

mg/an (Reuters, AP, AFP)