Tzipi Livni resigns from Knesset


Former opposition leader Tzipi Livni resigned from Israel’s Knesset.

Livni delivered a prepared statement on Tuesday afternoon announcing her departure from the legislature prior to a meeting with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin at which she submitted her letter of resignation. She did not take any questions from reporters.

“I shall continue to work for a different Israel; our children deserve no less,” she told Rivlin upon submitting her resignation.

Livni said that although she was leaving the Knesset, she was not going to absent herself from public life. In a swipe at current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she said in her speech that she was “not sorry for refusing to sell out the government to the haredi Orthodox in order to form a government.”

Livni reportedly will remain in the Kadima Party but will not run in the next elections as a candidate. It has been rumored that Livni could join the new party of former journalist Yair Lapid, who registered Yesh Atid (There is a Future) on Sunday.

Livni lost in the March primary to lead the party to Shaul Mofaz, a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Following his victory, Mofaz called on Livni to remain in the party, saying that “Tzipi, your place is with us.”

Both Livni and Mofaz left Likud to join the newly founded Kadima, and in 2008 she edged Mofaz to become its leader. Previous party heads were founder Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, who both went on to become prime minister.

In 1999, two years after leaving her commercial law practice to become a Knesset member in Likud, Livni was given a ministerial portfolio. By 2006 as foreign minister, she was second in command of Kadima, then Israel’s ruling party, and in the 2009 general election she led the party to garner 28 Knesset seats—one more than the second-largest party, Netanyahu’s Likud.

But Livni was unable to form a coalition after Netanyahu assembled a bloc of religious and right-wing parties.

Livni’s resignation comes after a weekend of speculation that Netanyahu will call elections for this fall, a year earlier than mandated. That decision has been put on hold while Netanyahu observes shiva for his father, who died Monday.

Syria government resigns in effort to appease protesters


Syria’s Cabinet resigned Tuesday to help quell a wave of popular fury that erupted more than a week ago and is now threatening President Bashar Assad’s 11-year rule in one of the most authoritarian and closed-off nations in the Middle East.

Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for four decades, is trying to calm the growing dissent with a string of concessions. He is expected to address the nation in the next 24 hours to lift emergency laws in place since 1963 and moving to annul other harsh restrictions on civil liberties and political freedoms.

More than 60 people have died since March 18 as security forces cracked down on protesters, Human Rights Watch said.

State TV said Tuesday Assad accepted the resignation of the 32-member Cabinet headed by Naji al-Otari, who has been in place since September 23. The Cabinet will continue running the country’s affairs until the formation of a new government.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

Klain resigns as Biden’s chief of staff


Ron Klain, Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, is resigning.

“As my chief of staff in the White House, Ron has done an exceptional job of building my team, implementing my direction on top priorities, and providing invaluable counsel,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday.  “He has also played a key role in establishing the strong, positive relationship that exists between my staff and the President’s team.”

This White House has been notable for the smooth relations between President Obama and Biden.

Klain, who had served as chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1999, will become president of Case Holdings, an investment company, The New York Times reported.

Klain led the Gore team during the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida.