Netanyahu’s Loyalists in the Lead in Likud Primaries

Head of the Likud party Binyamin Netanyahu casts his vote in the Likud primaries, at a polling station in Tel Aviv, on Wednesday. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

After counting most of the votes in the primary elections in the Likud it seems that the loyalists of the factions leader and former prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, appear to be take the top spots in the party’s electoral slate.

With 75% of the votes counted, the candidates the party will send to the Knesset following the Nov. 1 election appear to be Yariv Levin, Eli Cohen, Yoav Gallant, Amir Ohana, Dudi Amsalem and Yoav Kisch – all ardent followers of Netanyahu who backed him decisively in his last term as prime minister.

A former challenger to the faction leader and a Likud veteran, Yuli Edelstein, is currently placed at the 23rd spot on the party’s list, in what looks to be a major upset. Edelstein intended to run against Netanyahu after finishing first in the last primaries but eventually backed down, and it looks like the loyal voters punished the former minister for standing up to the party leader – who is ranked first and will remain at the faction’s helm.

In the battle between potential Netanyahu successors, former Yerushalayim Mayor Nir Barkat looks to be leading former Finance Minister Yisrael Katz.

In addition, several spots which Netanyahu asked to ensure in the list were confirmed by the voters, a move that highlights the support of the veteran leader.

Another Netanyahu loyalist, Miri Regev, will most likely clinch the 10th spot, since the place is supposed to be occupied by a woman according to the rules, in order to increase the number of female representatives in the Knesset.

Besides Regev, there are no other female candidates expected to be elected to top spots.

However, the Likud has promised a larger female representation in the party, so some of them will likely be “promoted” to higher spots despite receiving a low number of votes.

Some 58%, out of the 140,000 registered voters, cast their ballots Wednesday – making up 79,735 votes in total, similar to the 2019 primaries.

Voters had to pick a total of 13 candidates, 12 on the national list, and another candidate who will represent the district they belong to. Some 70 candidates were registered in the national electoral slate, and 40 other contenders in the regional district slots.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!