Likud committee members seek compromise with PM

Party will hold convention for the first time in more than a decade on March 22.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 17, 2012 02:33
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu with likud background 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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A day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threatened to leave the Likud Party if its central committee is given the right to select the party’s MKs, top activists on the committee offered Netanyahu a compromise.

The Likud will hold a convention for the first time in more than a decade on March 22, in which Netanyahu is expected to clash with the activists over who should select the party’s Knesset candidates and whether he should be permitted to reserve slots for people he chooses.

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Netanyahu is afraid of restoring the right to select MKs to the committee, which was seen as performing the task in a corrupt manner before he persuaded them to allow the entire Likud membership to vote for the party’s Knesset slate in 2006.

He was quoted as telling Likud ministers this week that if the central committee votes to take back the right to select the MKs, he would quit the party along with the rest of its MKs and form a “new Likud” with the same ideology.

Central committee members responded Thursday that Netanyahu was “panicking” and that a majority of the party’s activists realize that this right will not be returned to them.

A group of central committee members led by attorney Yossi Fuchs proposed a compromise: The membership would continue to select MKs on the Likud’s national list, but 10 slots reserved for new MKs representing different regions and sectors would be chosen by the central committee.

“The central committee members are elected officials and it is important that they are given some influence on the party’s future,” Fuchs said.

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Fuchs also proposed that the prime minister be required to bring the Likud’s ministers to the committee for approval. He said that would enable the committee to veto ministers who do not fit the party’s ideology, singling out dovish Minister- without-Portfolio Michael Eitan.

“The Likud is not Israel Beiteinu and it is important that there be democracy and oversight,” Fuchs said.

Fuchs called Netanyahu’s threat “unnecessary.” He said many Likud MKs backed his compromise but were afraid to say so publicly, so as to not incur Netanyahu’s wrath.

Netanyahu’s Likud rival Moshe Feiglin agrees with the prime minister that the entire Likud list should be decided by the party’s 130,000 members.

“But if Netanyahu wants to leave Likud, we won’t stand in the way,” a source close to Feiglin said.

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