Photo: AP
Sharon prepares for Likud fight
Photo: AP

Sharon girds for battle

Prime minister to court Likud members ahead of showdown against Benjamin Netanyahu; Sharon’s associates confident he can fight off attempt to bring forward Likud primaries

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expected to boost his efforts starting Thursday in an effort to fight off the proposal to bring forward the Likud primaries scheduled to be voted on during a Likud Central Committee meeting in late September.


Sharon, who began a series of one-on-one meetings with Likud Knesset members, is also expected to initiate a phone campaign in an attempt to convince Likud Central Committee members to reject the proposal to bring forward the primaries.


The prime minister is also expected to speak to members about attempts to dismiss him from the Likud leadership and give activists more personal attention, largely lacking in his last years in power.


Meanwhile, Sharon will continue to meet with his party members, while his associates, including his son Omri, are already actively campaigning for him, traveling from one rally to the next. The PM himself is expected to join the party starting next week and host key Central Committee members at his official residence or his office.


Sharon to visit New York


Sharon’s main objective is to initiate a massive recruitment drive ahead of the Likud meeting and present a strong camp that backs the prime minister. Sharon’s associates also want to ensure that more than 80 percent of Central Committee members hit the polls on the day of the vote.


Sources close to Sharon say they believe that a turnout rate exceeding 80 percent will allow the prime minister to fight off the attempt to bring forward the primaries.


“The closer we get to the meeting, more people will start changing their minds, and understand the effect of their vote on Likud’s future in power,” one Sharon associate said. “We’re starting to feel a change already, and it will be noticeable in polls in the coming weeks. It’s a matter of time until Knesset members and ministers, who don’t want elections, start convincing their supporters to forget about that it (early primaries).”


Meanwhile, Sharon is expected to head to New York in about 10 days in order to attend the United Nation’s assembly there. The Likud vote on the primaries is scheduled to take place on September 25, shortly after he returns from the U.S.


פרסום ראשון: 09.01.05, 11:09
 new comment
This will delete your current comment