Haim Ramon says he’ll start new centrist party, lashes out at coalition’s failures

Ex-Kadima founder and Labor minister to establish an ‘alternative to Netanyahu,’ hopes Livni will join him

Haim Ramon and Tzipi Livni at the Knesset in 2009 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Haim Ramon and Tzipi Livni at the Knesset in 2009 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Veteran politician Haim Ramon, one of the founders of Kadima, announced Tuesday that he will start another new centrist political party.

Ramon, who resigned from the Knesset in 2009, said his new party would be an “alternative to the prime minister” and that it has been in the works since his resignation, but that because of the current coalition crisis he has decided to bring the plan forward.

“It’s clear that it didn’t work,” Ramon said, referring to Kadima joining Netanyahu’s coalition in May amid promises of national service reform, electoral reform and more. “[Shaul] Mofaz failed in his role… no one will believe him.”

But it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not Mofaz, who was the real problem, Ramon said. “He’s been misleading the public for three years now, saying he wants to make peace. But now the masks are all gone, revealing that his true partners are the settlers and the ultra-Orthodox.”

Ramon, a Labor minister who then became one of Kadima’s founders, said he hopes fellow ex-Kadima member Tzipi Livni will join the new political venture.

Ramon slammed the other centrist political hopeful, ex-journalist turned aspiring politician Yair Lapid, saying his Yesh Atid party “cannot bring 30 [Knesset] seats.”

Ramon started his Knesset career with Labor in 1983 and joined Kadima at the time of that party’s formation in 2005. He served as vice prime minister during both Ehud Barak’s and Ehud Olmert’s governments. In 2007, he was sentenced to community service following a sexual harassment conviction. Ramon had kissed a female staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“It’s odd that a convicted criminal would aspire to form a political party and promise new and clean politics,” Kadima’s spokespeople said in response to the announcement Tuesday.

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