Avidgor Liberman
Avidgor Liberman Photo by Tomer Neuberg/ Flahs90

Yisrael Beytenu chief and former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman is pushing the Likud to replace Binyamin Netanyahu as its candidate for the premiership, a senior Yisrael Beytenu official claims, according to a report by Israel Hayom.

Citing the unnamed official, the report says that Liberman hopes to oust Netanyahu as premier, and has been in talks with Likud leaders even preceding Tuesday’s election to discuss the possibility of finding an alternative candidate in the event of a stalemate.

Liberman will do everything possible to get another candidate nominated from the Likud for the premiership,” the source said.

With neither side likely able to form a narrow government, Liberman has called on the Blue and White party to form a unity government with the Likud.

Blue and White has thus far refused to consider sitting in a government with Netanyahu, however, leading Liberman to criticize Blue and White chairman, Benny Gantz.

"The clear conclusion is that everything we said is happening. There is an option to establish a wide, liberal unity government and we say that we will not join any other option," he said.

But behind scenes, Liberman is, according to the report, looking to break the deadlock by securing an alternative Likud candidate, thus paving the way for a unity government with Blue and White.

A number of senior Likud officials, however, expressed their support Tuesday night for Netanyahu, including Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz; Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon; ministers Miri Regev, Zeev Elkin, Eli Cohen, and Gilad Erdan; Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, and MKs Yoav Kish and David Amsalem.