The Knesset green-lighted seven MKs to break away from the Kadima party and join a new party being formed by former Kadima head Tzipi Livni on Monday.
The move gives Livni’s Hatnua (The Movement) a significant boost in the coffers, as the seven will bring with them their share of Kadima’s state campaign funds, NIS 1.3 million each, according to media reports.
Six of the MKs on the Knessets committee overseeing the breakaway supported the move, while four objected.
In order for legislators to switch political parties and retain their share of public funding directed at the election campaign (parties in parliament get a budget for TV airtime and other needs), a group of seven or more MKs must receive permission from the Knesset’s.
On Sunday, Kadima member Meir Sheetrit announced he would join forces with Livni, after Yoel Hasson, Rachel Adatto, Majallie Whbee, Orit Zuaretz, Robert Tiviaev, and Shlomo Molla all said they would join Livni’s list last week.
Kadima, currently the largest party in the Knesset, is expected to fare poorly in the January 22 elections, under the leadership of Shaul Mofaz, who ousted Livni from the party leadership earlier this year.
Livni announced her comeback this week as head of the new center-left party Hatnua, or “The Movement,” and has also garnered the support of former Labor Party head Amram Mitzna, who will run as her Number 2.
Her party is expected to get eight-10 seats when Israelis go to the polls.
The committee also allowed Rabbi Haim Amsalem — who intends to run as the head of the Am Shalem party — to break off from Shas, and for Taleb el-Sana to leave the Raam-Taal party.
While the Knesset approved the fragmentation of political parties, the Jewish Home and Tekumah — a former faction of the National Union — announced an agreement to join forces.