With the latest government shakeup, the question of the survival of the government arose – and even with the addition of five MKs from Yisrael Beytenu, anything was possible. But regardless, Yerushalayim Mayor Nir Barkat said that he would not run for chairmanship of the Likud this year, even if elections were called and the Likud held new primaries.
Speaking to students at Hebrew University this week, Barkat said that he would not get involved in national politics this year, despite “many calls on me to do so.” He preferred to finish out his term as mayor before making that move, he said.
In December, Barkat announced that he was joining the Likud and would seek a seat on the party’s next Knesset list in the upcoming party primaries. In his announcement, Barkat said that he had always been a supporter of the Likud and of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and now he wished to make it “official.”
The announcement immediately set off speculation that Barkat would seek to challenge Netanyahu for leadership of the Likud. “As one who believes in ensuring that Israel and Yerushalayim remain united, and the need for more security and less inequality, I cannot sit by and watch from the side any longer,” he said at the time. “I intend to bring many new members with me in order to bring new blood into the party, and enhance the leadership of the party which will hopefully properly guide the state. Our membership in the Likud will also ensure that Yerushalayim receives the honor it deserves, as well as its fair share of national resources.”