Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is floating the idea of holding a snap primary for the position of chairman of his Likud party, according to a party statement, with the intended aim of showing the political establishment, especially the rival Blue and White faction, that he is in firm control of the post.
However, when word emerged of a potential internal election, Likud MK Gideon Saar tweeted: “I’m ready.”
Saar has been viewed as a leading challenger to the throne of the party leadership.
He had taken a break from politics but ran in the April Knesset election, after having earned one of the leading positions in a party primary for the parliamentary list that preceded the April election. The Likud maintained the same list for the September 17 vote.
The Likud statement said that a primary would achieve the aim of quashing the impression that Netanyahu faces a rebellion within the party “as other parties hope,” a reference to the belief that Blue and White is stalling in efforts to form a national unity government amid the belief that either the attorney general will soon decide that the prime minister should be indicted on corruption charges, or that some other MK will emerge from within the Likud as a successor to Netanyahu, with whom Blue and White would be willing to arrange a rotation for the position of premier in a unity coalition.