Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is touring the country in an effort to persuade Likud Central Committee members to support a bid to change the party's constitution. His fiercest opposition comes from Moshe Feiglin and his supporters, however some Likud Knesset members have also voiced their objection to the move.
MK Miri Regev explained Wednesday why she would vote against the motion on Thursday. "The Likud party is the largest popular party and to my great delight Prime Minister Netanyahu instated the primaries in 1992. The Likud has a constitution. Just as one doesn't change the rules in the middle of a football game, on this case one should hold elections on their due date and not change the very rules we set ourselves."
Regev added that sticking to the original election date would be in the party's best interest. "The movement needs to rejuvenate. People who are elected have a need to act, to change and make a difference."
The MK further noted that she didn't understand Netanyahu's stance, as no election for party posts have been held for the past eight years. "Once you postpone elections by two years, they would be held a year before the general elections, which means they won't be conducted - rendering the movement dead, with no branches, young blood, students and women."
She demanded observers be present during the Central Committee's vote. "It would be a distortion of democracy should there be no observers," she said. She further added, "I don't think Feiglin should be used as an excuse for every concrete crisis."
MK Danny Danon is also opposed to the initiative and is scheduled to hold an activists' meeting on Wednesday evening ahead of the vote. "One doesn’t change the constitution in a democratic movement, only in extreme cases of war or a state of emergency. The opposition for the move is wide and stems from principals and not from a will to start a 'Netanyahu-Feiglin'-like street fight."
'Likud unity not questioned'
MK Yariv Levin has also announced he will not support the prime minister on Thursday's vote. "I am convinced that an ideological Likud party which is open and revitalized will bolster the prime minister and help him deal with the great challenges we face. Likud unity is not in question. We shall all be committed to whatever is decided and we will stand together ahead of our future struggles," he said.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu continues to tour the country and recruit supporters. Slamming the party's rightist faction on Tuesday he said, "We need to focus on the State of Israel's important issues, we need more functionaries in order to deal with important issues such as Iranian nukes and talks with US President Obama."
Referring to the demand to employ observers in the vote, the Likud party stated in response: "The polling committee will not include a representative from either side, but objective lawyers selected by an independent company. The whole process is aptly conducted and is subject to judicial scrutiny."