Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Becomes New Leader of Israel’s Governing Party

Tzipi Livni won the election in Israel to replace Prime Minister Elmud Olmert Thursday as head of the Kadima Party. According to the Associated Press, Livni, Israel’s foreign minister and a political moderate, secured 43.1 percent of the vote.

Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and military leader received 42 percent of the vote. Olmert, who will resign due to corruption allegations, will most likely step down sometime after next Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. Livni will then begin the process of formally creating a new ruling coalition. She will have 42 days to form the coalition and, if successful, will become the first female prime minister since Golda Meir resigned 34 years ago. If she is unable to create a new coalition, Israel will hold elections next year.

The government under Olmert had planned to forge an agreement with Palestine by the end of the year. According to BBC News, Livni will most likely continue where Olmert’s government left off, negotiating the movement of Jewish settlers and transfer of Israeli territory to Palestine. Linvi is known for her non-confrontational approach in peace talks.

After years of violence and unrest in the region, Israelis hope Livni can resolve many of the problems faced by Israelis and Palestinians. According to the AP, Shula Lon, a resident of Jerusalem, felt encouraged by the election of the would-be prime minister. “I really wish her the best, that she will bring peace,” she said. “After so many generations (when) nobody succeeded, maybe a woman could do it now.”


Associated Press 9/18/2008, BBC News 9/18/2008, Ms. Magazine Winter 2008

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