MK Nachman Shai announced on Saturday night that he would leave the Kadima party and join the Labor Party.
Rumors had been circulating for several weeks that Shai planned to resign from the struggling party, but he informed Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich on Saturday night of his decision following Thursday evening’s announcement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would run on a joint list with Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu in the general elections to be held on January 22, 2013.
“The Labor Party offers a clear alternative to the Netanyahu-Liberman party,” Shai said on Saturday night. “This is the time to think big, to act big, and to join forces as a part of national and ethical responsibility.”
Shai is the second Kadima MK to move over to the Labor Party in less than a week. Last Thursday, Nino Abesadze announced that she would join Yachimovich’s left-of-center party. Kadima, currently the largest party in the Knesset with 28 seats, is projected to plummet to fewer than 10 in the upcoming election.
Shai added that he believed Yachimovich to be the right person to serve as prime minister and to lead Israel at this time.
During the first Gulf War in 1991, Shai served as the IDF spokesman after having served as the head of Army Radio and the Israeli delegation’s UN press secretary.
Netanyahu on Sunday welcomed a new face to the Likud. Economist Shlomo Maoz announced he would be joining the party, expressing support for the prime minister’s fiscal policies.
Netanyahu said he wanted Maoz to help reduce housing costs.