Former Kadima party head Tzipi Livni said on Monday she would announce within days whether or not she would return to run for the Knesset, dependent on the political future of former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
Livni, who served under Olmert as foreign minister and took over the party when he left politics four years ago to fight corruption charges, has been the source of rumors that she would attempt to form a new centrist party with her former colleague ahead of upcoming elections in January.
“I gave Olmert breathing room to reach a decision, which will also affect my my own decision,” Livni said at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. “This saga is taking too much time and will be over in two or three days.”
On Monday night, Channel 2 news reported that Livni and Olmert were both leaning toward rejoining politics, though Livni wanted to let Olmert announce his decision first.
Polls have shown that a party led by the two could gain enough seats to become a political force in the 19th Knesset. Kadima, now led by Shaul Mofaz, is expected to drop significantly in Knesset seats, with one recent poll showing the party disappearing from the Israeli parliament altogether.
Olmert’s ability to run for high office was cast in further doubt last week when the State Attorney’s Office filed an appeal against his acquittals in both the substantive corruption charges of which he was cleared by the Jerusalem District Court in July. He was convicted of breach of trust in the same trial, and is also still in litigation over a real-estate scandal.
When asked about her prospects of blocking the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Livni said: “The question is whether identifying an alternative to replace the incumbent government amounts to creating an ideological alternative.
“This is what I was engaging with last month, the question of whether it is possible to establish an opposition bloc,” she added. “I attempted appraising this in meetings with leaders of various parties, whether it is possible to set up a faction united by the same set of priorities.”
Prominent American economist Nouriel Roubini met with Olmert, currently in New York, on Sunday and soon after tweeted that the former politician would announce his return to politics on Tuesday.
Olmert’s spokesman denied the assertion.