Netanyahu: Former Likud minister seeks to overthrow me
After close associates of Prime Minister Netanyahu accuse former interior minister Gideon Sa'ar of convincing President Rivlin not to task him with creating the government after the upcoming elections, Netanyahu says, 'I know this plot doesn't stand a chance because the public will not allow it to realize.'
While the former official was not named, he is believed to be former Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar.
"It has come to my knowledge over the past few weeks that a former Likud minister is speaking with coalition members in an attempt to undermine me.
"He wants me to lead the Likud to an overwhelming victory in the upcoming elections, and then see to that I'm no longer the prime minister, against the will of the Likud voters, against the will of the public and against democracy," Netanyahu lashed out.
"I travel across the country and see the huge support me and my wife receive. Support in a magnitude I haven't witnessed since I entered politics.
"Therefore I know this plot doesn't stand a chance because the public will not allow it to realize. However, it did expose a loophole in the law and we will figure out how to handle it," he went on to say.
Earlier, Netanyahu's close associates accused a former senior Likud party member—also believed to be Sa'ar— of attempting to convince President Reuven Rivlin not to task him with creating the government after the next elections because of "personal score settling."
Sa'ar vehemently denied the allegations made against him.
"Normally, I don't comment on delusional claims, particularly when there's no one willing to stand behind these claims and make them openly. But since my name came up, I want to say in the clearest manner: There is no basis for the reports. They're completely farfetched. I'm bothered by the thought there is someone who whispers such nonsense in the prime minister's ear," Sa'ar said.
The President's Residence dismissed the claims as "paranoia that is not based on a concrete move or thought that happened in reality."
In response, coalition Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) said he intends to submit a bill proposal that would require the president to task the leader of the party with the largest number of seats in the Knesset with the construction of the government.
At present, Basic Law: The Government gives the president the authority to task any MK who agrees to it with the formulation of the government.
Amsalem seeks to change the law so the president would only be able to task the "head of the party" or "the candidate," thus ensuring no other MK in the winning party can put together the new government.