MKs Amram Mitzna and Meir Sheetrit of Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party have announced their retirement from politics.
The resignations left Livni’s faction with just two members of the original six who held seats in the 19th Knesset before parliament was dissolved in early December.
Mitzna, 69, informed Livni of his retirement on Wednesday evening, while Sheetrit gave his notification the following morning.
MKs Elazar Stern and David Tzur already left the party earlier this month. Aside from Livni, only MK Amir Peretz now remains committed to running in the coming election scheduled for March 17.
“A short time ago I notified Hatnua chairwoman Tzipi Livni that I do not intend to campaign in the coming elections for the Knesset as part of the joint list of Hatnua and Labor, or for any other list,” Mitzna said in a statement.
The former IDF general went on to give his full support to the merger between Hatnua and the Labor Party, as agreed by Livni and Labor leader Isaac Herzog.
“I believe that the joining of Hatnua to the Labor Party is a right step that has the power to change the reality in Israel,” he said. “For reasons that came up, and in the emerging political frameworks, I came to the conclusion that it is not for me to be an active player and to influence these important matters as a member of Knesset.”
Mitzna led the Labor party in the elections for the 16th Knesset but resigned his position to be replaced by Shimon Peres. After a break from politics, he came back to join Hatnua and win a seat in the 19th Knesset.
Veteran MK Sheetrit, 66, spent over 20 years with the Likud party before leaving in 2005 to join prime minister Ariel Sharon’s newly formed Kadima party. In 2012 he joined Hatnua and earlier this year he ran for the presidency, losing to Reuven Rivlin.
Stern announced his resignation over the weekend and criticized Livni for merging the party’s list with Labor’s in what he saw as a sellout. In his resignation letter, Stern wrote that “Livni sold seats on the [party] list for the sake of the rotation with [Labor Party leader Isaac] Herzog.”
Earlier this month, Livni joined forces with Labor and agreed to run on a joint list with the opposition party in a bid to form a government to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two parties agreed to make Livni the united list’s No. 2, and reportedly agreed to give former environmental protection minister Amir Peretz the eighth spot on their joint slate. Livni and Herzog would each serve as prime minister for two years should Labor win, the two agreed.
Other spots on the joint list were reserved for Hatnua MKs, but Stern was apparently not guaranteed a slot that would ensure his reelection.