PM Netanyahu, VP Silvan Shalom_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Likud central committee voted by a large margin Thursday night in favor of
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal to advance the party’s leadership
race from mid-2013 to January 31, 2012.
Speaking to the central committee
following the vote at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, the prime minister thanked them
for their support. He hinted that even though the Likud primary will be moved
up, he still wants the next general election to be held on time in
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Netanyahu’s main Likud rival, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom,
noticeably absented himself from the event. While Shalom has not said publicly
that he would not be running in the primary, he did tell central committee
members close to him that he would sit out the primary, because Netanyahu did
not give enough time for a fair race.
The only candidate that has
announced that he will challenge Netanyahu is Likud activist Moshe Feiglin. He
called Netanyahu’s decision to advance the race by a year and a half “not
exactly democracy at its best,” but said he would run anyway “in order to keep
the Likud on its true path.”
Feiglin called upon Netanyahu to keep the
race fair and “not allow it to turn into a farce” like past races in the party.
He said there had to be observers at polling stations for the results to be
Blasting Netanyahu for giving too much power to Defense
Minister Ehud Barak, Feiglin asked the crowd: “Do any of you remember a leftwing
government appointing a defense minister from Likud? Why do people who voted for
a right-wing government get a defense minister who fights against settling the
land? Why can’t we get a defense minister who is loyal to the Land of Israel?”
Besides the leadership race, more than 100,000 Likud members will also vote on
January 31 to elect a new central committee for the first time in nearly a
Central committee members were expected to vote by secret ballot
Thursday night in favor of Netanyahu’s proposal for a 33 percent increase in the
number of central committee members from cities and among the founders of the
party. Results of the vote were not available by press time.
minister advanced the proposal in order to dilute the power of Likud members
from Judea and Samaria, who Netanyahu believes are over-represented on the