Sa'ar signals Likud leadership challenge to Netanyahu

Gideon Sa'ar

Benjamin Netanyahu is considering a snap party leadership election to bolster his standing, but Gideon Sa'ar could upset his plans.

Gideon Sa'ar will contest the Likud party leadership if the party holds snap primaries. Moments after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement that the party was backing him, so that the other parties would be aware that he was the Likud's sole candidate for prime minister, Sa'ar tweeted "I'm ready".

Sa'ar did not elaborate, but he of course means contending head-to-head with Netanyahu for the Likud leadership.

The body authorized to approve a leadership election is the party's central committee, but last time round Netanyahu circumvented the committee through the party secretariat, at the head of which stands Minister of Foreign Affairs Yisrael Katz. Katz was quick to announce his support for Netanyahu today.

A leadership election in Likud will signal that the party is gearing up for a third general election.

This is the first time for many years that a senior Likud figure has offered himself as a candidate to compete against Netanyahu.

Sa'ar is positioning himself as a potential candidate to form a government if Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz receives a mandate from the president and fails to fulfil it, and the mandate reverts to the Knesset, which can recommend a candidate with the support of 61 Knesset members.

Earlier today, it was reported that Netanyahu was preparing to hold a snap Likud leadership election, against the possibility that Israel will go to the polls again within the next 23 months. His aim is to burst the "illusion of a revolt within Likud" as his spokesman put it. According to the announcement, the other parties are hoping for change at the head of the Likud, and this is holding them back from joining a unity government under Netanyahu.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 3, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Gideon Sa'ar
Gideon Sa'ar
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