Amid growing tension within the Likud party over calls to hold an immediate primary election for party leader, MK Nir Barkat presented on Sunday a plan to instead hold primaries for a new position of deputy head of the party who would replace Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu if and when he is forced to take a leave of absence to deal with the indictments against him.
With the Likud in uproar after MK Gideon Saar publicly challenged Netanyahu, calling for elections for leadership of the party, Barkat said that unlike Saar, his plan will “thwart attempts to divide the party, and will strengthen Likud.”
The proposal would see the creation of a deputy leader position that Barkat said would be “inspired by the U.S. model, where the president and vice president work together.”
According to Barkat’s proposal, the deputy leader will be placed second in the Likud electoral list for the Knesset, and will hold the most senior post in the government or the Knesset after the chairman of the party. Crucially, the deputy would automatically take the helm of the party if the chairman stepped down or was forced to step down.
Likud Central Committee Chairman MK Chaim Katz said that he would meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and discuss the various options and proposals, and choose the best “for the party and for the country.”