Likud Set to Vote on Netanyahu's Early Primaries

Likud Central Committee to vote all day on Netanyahu's proposals, which are viewed as attempt to block Sa'ar, as well as list reservations.

Ido Ben-Porat, Ari Yashar,

Binyamin Netanyahu at Likud meeting
Binyamin Netanyahu at Likud meeting
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Likud Central Committee on Wednesday is poised to vote on party head and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's proposal to advance primaries for party leadership to December 31, as opposed to their current date of January 6.

Members of the Central Committee can vote at ten different ballot stations throughout the country starting from 10 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. The results are expected to be published around midnight.

In addition to moving the primaries date forward, Netanyahu's proposal would allow the party chairperson to reserve the 11th and 24th spots on the Knesset list for candidates of his choosing, and would ensure four female candidates up to the 34th spot. It would also have reserved spots for regional candidates beginning from the 16th spot and have them appear alternatively in the list.

Reportedly Netanyahu's push for early primaries is meant to prevent former Likud Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar from challenging him for leadership of the party.

Sa'ar, who stepped down last month to take a break from politics, could potentially be Netanyahu's main opponent to maintaining Likud leadership. He reportedly is preparing for a campaign, and may even establish a political faction of his own.

It was reported on Monday that Likud activists identified with Sa'ar had already gathered 500 signatures from party members needed to formally allow him to challenge Netanyahu.

Also competing with Netanyahu will be Likud Committee Chairman Danny Danon, who submitted his candidacy on Monday.

While submitting his candidacy, Danon said the Likud has "strayed" from its true values in recent years, saying "it's time to talk 'right' and do 'right,' both regarding national-security and socioeconomic issues." 

"Likud members expect and require us to maintain the spirit of democracy as the largest party in Israel," he continued. "I will be on guard to not act in the spirit of opportunism which will harm Likud and its partners." 


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