Netanyahu may hold primaries unopposed

Even with no contender, Netanyahu aides request to hold primaries. Committee to decide outcome on Monday.

Shimon Cohen ,

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister's Office (PMO)

So far, no one has stepped forward from within the rank of the Likud list to oppose Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the leadership of the party. With the current situation as it is, the Likud election committee will be meeting on Monday, to determine whether or not to announce Netanyahu as the de facto winner, even without holding primaries, or to hold the primaries regardless with Netanyahu as the only name on the ballot.  

According to a report on Kol Yisrael radio, sources close to the Prime Minister are requesting that the primaries be held, even if there is no competitor. This request was made in an effort to establish Netanyahu as the head of the party in accordance with the party’s mandate. The sources expressed a worry that if formal elections are not held, then Netanyahu will be left open for attack at a later date, and others may make a legal case against Netanyahu at an inconvenient time.  

There are those who oppose the idea of holding an unchallenged primary election, due to the exorbitant cost incurred by the party which will tally close to four million shekels. This is especially so for an uncontested ballot, in which it is likely, that the majority of Likud members may not even trouble themselves to head to the polls, since the outcome is predetermined.

According to electoral regulations, which were published at the beginning of the campaign, the ability to cancel primaries in the case of an unopposed candidate does exist, and hence the election committee does not need to weigh in on the matter. However, due to the request emanating from within the party, the committee will meet and decide how to proceed.