Key Netanyahu rival rejects plan for direct elections

New Hope chief rejects plan to hold special elections for prime minister. 'You can't change the rules in the middle of the game.'

Hezki Baruch ,

Gideon Sa'ar
Gideon Sa'ar
צילום: חזקי ברוך

New Hope chief and former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar announced Monday afternoon that his party will not back a proposed plan to hold special elections for the premiership.

Speaking at the opening of the New Hope faction meeting Monday afternoon, Sa’ar rejected plans being pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold a special direct election for the premiership.

“Our position hasn’t changed,” said Sa’ar. “Either a right-wing government led by a different candidate, or a government with equal representation” for the Right. “This isn’t the time to take Israel to another election.”

Sa’ar vowed to oppose legislation which would clear the way for a direct vote for the premiership during the current Knesset, saying it would amount to changing the rules in the middle of a parliamentary session.

“It isn’t right to effectively change the system of government in the middle of the existing parliamentary term. That’s like changing the rules in the middle of the game.”

“Netanyahu was correct back when he Olmert wanted to change the election system after his failure during the Second Lebanon War. In 2006, Netanyahu said: ‘The system of government isn’t a pair of socks that you can change every day. It would be like driving in a car that is going the wrong direction. Instead of changing direction, you change the model of the car. What is needed now is to change the leadership of the country’. End quote.”

On Sunday, Channel 12 reported that Netanyahu is backing a plan originally drawn up by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), and which won the backing of Yamina chief Naftali Bennett.

Under the plan being drawn up, a special direct election would be held, without a new Knesset election.

A bill is currently being drafted for the special election, and is expected to be submitted to the Knesset later this week.



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