Livni to Yachimovich: Labor Is Kadima's 'Natural' Zionist Partner

Leadership rivals Amir Peretz and Isaac Herzog call new Labor leader to congratulate her on her success and share hopes of collaboration among Labor MKs.

The Labor Party is Kadima's natural partner for a Zionist path to a future of peace and fair society, opposition leader Tzipi Livni told MK Shelly Yachimovich Thursday morning, when she called to congratulate her for being elected as the new leader for Israel's Labor Party.

Speaking to Channel 10, Livni said "I see the Labor Party as our (Kadima's) natural partner for a Zionist path to a future of peace and fair society. That is the common goal of political leaders now and in the future, in light of the challenges standing before the State of Israel."

Shelly Yachimovich voting 12.9.11 AP

Livni and Yachimovich made plans to meet in the near future.

Yachimovich was elected as the new leader of Israel’s Labor Party on Wednesday, following a close race against runner-up Amir Peretz.

Yachimovich, the second woman to take on the role in the history of the Labor Party after former Prime Minister Golda Meir, was in the lead by 3,100 votes after 167 of the 171 ballot boxes had been counted, winning 54% of the vote - a total of 22,299 votes, by the final count.

"This is a new window of opportunity to raise up the Labor Party," Yachimovich said in reponse.

Labor MK Amir Peretz, who won 45% of the vote - a total of 18,769 votes - congratulated Yachimovich in a phone call saying, "I wish you success, and hope that there is collaboration so that we can deal with all the issues that are important to the state of Israel."

Labor MK Isaac Herzog, who finished third in the first round of party elections, congratulated the fresh leader. "Great challenges lie ahead. It is right for us to hold hands and assist you as much as possible," he said.

Yachimovich's first task will be to prevent a further split in the Labor Party, and to recruit her political rivals to cooperate with her. It is important to note that not a single Knesset member of the Labor Party, other than MK Avishai Braverman, supported her candidacy, and most of them supported that of Peretz.