Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quashed a move to hold snap primaries for the Likud leadership in a meeting on Sunday night with the head of the party’s central committee, MK Chaim Katz, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Earlier in the day, Likud MK Gideon Saar, who wants to run against Netanyahu, asked Katz to urgently convene the committee to schedule a leadership vote before December 11, the deadline for the Knesset to choose one of its members to form a government, or go to elections.
If the party would vote to install a new chairman, replacing Netanyahu, the stalemate with Blue and White could probably be broken, since their main objection to a unity government has been Netanyahu’s role in it while under indictment.
As the Likud’s chosen candidate for prime minister, such a primary could only be held with Netanyahu’s approval, according to the party’s rules.
However, the question of whether there might be a leadership primary before the next Knesset election instead of canceling it, as in the case of the Likud’s Knesset slate, was apparently left unresolved.
According to a report on Channel 12, Likud will be holding primaries within the next six weeks.
It said Netanyahu “is not ruling out” a primary vote sometime within the coming two and a half weeks, as Saar wants, but that the prospect is unlikely.
Meanwhile, when a reporter questioned on Sunday his capacity to lead the country while embroiled in a legal and political battle of such proportions, Netanyahu answered in the affirmative:
“Well, as you can see, I am doing everything necessary to continue the work of the government and the Security Cabinet, from which I have just come, by all necessary means, to preserve the security of the citizens of Israel and the things that are essential for the State of Israel,” he said.
“Whoever knows me knows that I am doing this. These are not insignificant matters. I am doing this in the best way possible out of a supreme commitment to the security of Israel.”
Updated Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 4:45 pm added comment