Israel’s Opposition splits ahead of election in April

Labour Party not to partner with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah

Israel’s centre-left opposition dramatically split on Tuesday ahead of an April 9 election, with leader Avi Gabbay announcing that he would no longer partner with veteran politician Tzipi Livni as she sat stone-faced next to him. The announcement means the end of their Zionist Union alliance, which finished with the second most seats in the last general election in 2015 but which has since tumbled in opinion polls. The Zionist Union included Mr. Gabbay’s Labour party and Ms. Livni’s Hatnuah. It won 24 out of 120 seats in 2015, behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, which won 30. Since Mr. Gabbay took over as head of Labour in 2017, his partnership with Ms. Livni had been uneasy and it was unclear if the alliance would continue for the election.

‘Doubts cleared’

In a statement shortly after Mr. Gabbay’s announcement, Ms. Livni said it was “good that the doubts had been cleared”, vowing to focus on winning the upcoming poll. Mr. Gabbay’s decision is the latest realignment ahead of the election and more are expected. Polls show that Mr. Netanyahu is likely to remain prime minister after the elections despite corruption allegations against him.

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