Likud Committee Votes to Hold Primary on January 6

Benjamin Netanyahu fortifies status as party head, PM candidate; sole rival is Moshe Feiglin.

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Benjamin Netanyahu at the Likud Party Central Committee meeting on Nov. 9, 2014.
Benjamin Netanyahu at the Likud Party Central Committee meeting on Nov. 9, 2014.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The Likud Party Central Committee has decided to hold elections for the party's leader and candidate for prime minister on January 6. This was a compromise reached on Sunday, when the committee convened, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and committee chairman Danny Danon.

Netanyahu succeeded in getting the party’s approval for moving up the vote that will elect the head of the party, thus consolidating his role as leader in the next general election.

Members of the Likud Party Central Committee voting on Nov. 9, 2014.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

MK Moshe Feiglin is the only Likud member so far who has announced that he will run against Netanyahu.

“I’m doing this in the name of those values that the Likud always stood for,” said Feiglin to the applause of party members at the meeting.

Feiglin chalked up an achievement when he succeeded to impose a secret ballot when the central committee votes on his proposal to hold additional internal elections in case no election for the Knesset is held within six months. The vote on Feiglin’s proposal will be held in the next few days.

Danon indirectly criticized Netanyahu when he stated that he would continue to fight “so that the central committee is not just a rubber stamp, but a living and breathing body which affects decision making in our party.”

On Sunday committee members also approved another clause whereby a few days prior to its primary, the party will hold discussions and a vote on several sweeping changes to its charter.

Among other things they will vote on whether to give Netanyahu the authority to nominate one representative out of each 10 on the Likud's Knesset list; whether to allow committee members to vote for regional representatives on the list of candidates; and whether to allow all Likud members to vote on the entire list in the party primary.

As part of the compromise it was decided that any change in the procedures for electing a party leader would only take effect in the election after the next one – that is, for the 21st Knesset.

Thus, the prime minister managed to neutralize one of the major obstacles the party could have potentially placed in his path, since one proposed change is that a party chair wishing to run for a third term will require the approval of 60 percent of central committee members.

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