Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The next general election will already take place next year, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said Sunday in a pre-Rosh Hashana toast for top activists of his party at the Lev Yerushalayim Hotel in Jerusalem.
Liberman said his party would already begin preparing for the next general election by holding a race for Yisrael Beytenu’s central committee and branch heads. He said the party would work hard to win more than the 215,000 votes it received in the March 17 election.
“I can say with full confidence: In 2016, there will be elections for the 21st Knesset,” Liberman told the crowd.
Liberman surprised many by not joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current government after serving as his foreign minister in his previous government.
In the speech to the activists, he made clear that entering the government was not on his agenda.
“I am proud of our decision to not join the government to this day,” Liberman said.
“Thanks to the that decision and thanks to us keeping our principles we have been the most influential party in the current Knesset.”
He said Yisrael Beytenu played a key role in decisions on issues like the gas framework, the Norwegian law, and for the committee that will choose Israel’s next judges. With the support of the coalition, Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov won a prestigious slot on the panel.
“We proved that even though we are in the opposition, we are an active force that is alive and well,” Liberman said. “Our decision not to enter Netanyahu’s opportunistic government differentiated us from the coalition parties who care only about their political survival and are beholden to the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties.”