Primaries in Likud? 'A trial balloon'

Likud officials say that raising the idea of primaries revealed the fact that MK Gideon Sa'ar wants to replace Netanyahu.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Edelstein, Rivlin and Netanyahu
Edelstein, Rivlin and Netanyahu
Credit: Knesset spokesperson

Likud senior officials say that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has yet to decide whether to move up the party's primaries for the leadership of the party, and the idea was raised on Thursday only for the purpose of a "trial balloon" to check the responses to the move.

According to those senior officials, the announcement revealed the fact that MK Gideon Sa'ar wants to replace Netanyahu.

Culture Minister Miri Regev told Channel 13 News: "They threw a balloon into the air when they said that there may be primaries and the first to say 'I'm ready' was Gideon Sa'ar. This means that the rumors that there will be someone who will attempt a coup within Likud were true."

MK Sa'ar, considered the prime minister's main political opponent within the party, hinted on Twitter that he may contest the party's leadership against Netanyahu. "I'm ready," Sa'ar declared after the idea to advance the primaries was reported in the media.

Earlier, it was reported that the heads of the right-wing bloc were requested to sign a document stating that they pledged to support only Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu if all attempts at forming a coalition fail and the mandate is passed to the Knesset for 21 days.

If Netanyahu or Gantz cannot form a coalition, and Rivlin informs the Knesset Speaker that he doesn't see a possibility of forming a government, a majority of the Knesset members have a 21-day period to request that the president assign the task to a particular member of the Knesset. If such a request is not made, the Knesset is dispersed and new elections are called.

Netanyahu is wary of this 21-day period and he apparently wants to ensure his position in the party.