Israel's 'Mrs Clean' Has Quite a Mess to Tackle

But Livni faces uphill climb if she becomes prime minister
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2008 8:39 AM CDT
Tzipi Livni, Israel's prime minister-designate, shakes hands with Barack Obama during a meeting in Jerusalem.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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(Newser) – When she cast her ballot yesterday, Tzipi Livni took a page from Barack Obama and told the Israeli media that party members should "bring about change by voting for what you believe in." Now, writes an analyst in the Jerusalem Post, Israel's prime minister-designate has a tough job: not only to bring peace to the Middle East, but to reform a political system tainted by the corruption of Ehud Olmert.

Livni's very first task, writes Calev Ben David, must be "to reshape her divided and scandal-ridden faction closer to her own image as the straight-talking 'Mrs. Clean.'" But at the same time she has to build a coalition with smaller parties, and that means cutting deals. If she pollutes her reformer image just to win power, Livni "will surely suffer down the road in elections likely to come sooner rather than later."