Likud Calls Off Leadership Primary

A man casts his vote at the Tzfas Likud polling station in February. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The Likud announced Motzoei Shabbos that it will not be holding a snap leadership primary.

However, the Likud central committee said it will hold a vote to reaffirm its confidence in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the end of the week.

“The putsch is dead,” a source close to Netanyahu said of the attempt to overthrow his leadership of the Likud party.

The move is part of Netanyahu’s response to Blue and White, which said repeatedly throughout the election campaign that it would agree to be in a unity government with the Likud if the party was led by someone other than Netanyahu. The faction has continued to maintain this position in coalition talks.

With Blue and White continuing to refuse to be in a coalition with Netanyahu, and the prime minister insisting on representing the full 55-seat bloc of right-wing parties and not just Likud, coalition negotiations remain at a stalemate. The parties have no meetings planned for the coming days.

The Likud said Thursday that Netanyahu was considering a leadership vote, and immediately after that, Likud MK Gideon Saar tweeted “I’m ready,” implying that he would run against the prime minister in a primary.

Meanwhile, in a social media post Motzoei Shabbos Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman once again called on Netanyahu and Gantz to form a unity government, on behalf of the security situation the country is facing.

“In light of the national emergency situation, the security threats in the north and south and places farther away, I once again call on Netanyahu and Gantz to show responsibility and leadership,” Liberman wrote.

Liberman called on the leaders to put their egos aside and “stop the games, spin and wasting time.”