Israeli ex-foreign minister in poll fray

Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni announced her candidacy on Tuesday in a January general election, pledging to “fight for peace” with the Palestinians as a centrist alternative to Israel’s right-wing leadership.

Livni, voted out as the head of the main opposition Kadima party in an internal ballot in March, told a news conference she had formed a new party, “Hatnua”. Opinion polls predict Livni will win seven to nine of parliament’s 120-seats, grabbing votes from left-of-center factions and not generating enough support to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc.

Livni, a 54-year-old corporate lawyer, was once touted as Israel’s next Golda Meir — the only woman who ever served as prime minister. As foreign minister from 2006 to 2009, during Ehud Olmert’s premiership, she was appointed to the high-profile task of heading peace talks with the Palestinians.

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