Sa'ar and Netanyahu
Sa'ar and Netanyahu
Photo: Screenshot
Gideon Sa'ar speaking at the Likud conference

Likud cancels party list primaries

Likud institute declares party leadership vote contingent upon staging of third general elections; Sa'ar gains support as fears of losing right-wing rule deepen

Moran Azulay, Roi Rubinstein |
Published: 12.08.19 , 22:49
The Likud Central Committee voted on Sunday in favor of canceling the premieres for the party's list at a party conference in Tel Aviv.
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  • The Committee also decided that elections for party leadership will only take place if elections are declared.
    Gideon Sa'ar speaking at the Likud conferenceGideon Sa'ar speaking at the Likud conference
    Gideon Sa'ar speaking at the Likud conference
    (Photo: Gideon Sa'ar's Twitter feed)
    The Central Committee has also decided to implement the Norwegian Law in case a right-wing coalition government will be formed - an amendment that allows ministers or deputy ministers to resign from the Knesset but remain a minister, with their Knesset seat taken by the next person on the party's list.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main rival for Likud leadership MK Gideon Sa'ar gave a speech at the conference, claiming that party officials are trying to besmirch him for challenging Netanyahu for the Likud premiership.
    "There are some people who try to smear those who want to run for Likud headship," said Sa'ar. "It's legitimate to challenge someone who held the position for 14 years."
    Sa'ar then took to Twitter to double down on his statements given at the conference.
    "I am determined to run for the party leadership out of an understanding that a change is needed," wrote Sa'ar. "A turning point must be achieved in order to rescue the nation from the ongoing political crisis, establish a Likud-led government and unify the people."
    Due to constant heckling from the audience, Likud Central Committee Chairman Haim Katz went up on stage and implored the attendees to remain calm and to let Sa'ar speak.
    Netanyahu at the conferenceNetanyahu at the conference
    Netanyahu at the conference
    (Photo: Screenshot)
    Netanyahu took the stage afterward and said that "we still don't know whether we'll go to elections or not. We are making a last-ditch effort to prevent it, but if they force it on us, we will win bigly."
    The conference took place amid growing tensions within the ruling party, as activists - some affiliated with Sa'ar – demanded to agree on a date for the party leadership vote.
    Sa'ar's call to conduct a snap Likud primary came after both premiership hopefuls Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz have failed to form a viable coalition government.
    The former education minister initially intended for the vote to be held within the current 21-day period, in which any lawmaker can try to put together a coalition and is set to expire on Wednesday.
    Likud MK Yoav KischLikud MK Yoav Kisch
    Likud MK Yoav Kisch
    (Photo: The Knesset Channel)
    Likud MK Yoav Kisch said on Saturday that he supports Sa'ar's candidacy, listing his fear for a decline in the right-wing bloc's voter turnout in case of a third election.
    "We may lose the right-wing rule and the only one who can get us out of this situation is Gideon Sa’ar," said Kisch. "On Wednesday, we are likely to head to another election and I wish there'll be a different solution to this situation. After we got 60 seats (in April's vote), we went down to 55 (in September's vote), I'm afraid we're going to miss those 55 seats. The right-wing bloc will likely pay a heavy price."
    Several Likud officials in the prime minister's inner circle bashed Kisch for acting from personal interests and stated that his new-found loyalty to Sa'ar stems from him not being given the position of Likud faction leader in the Knesset.

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