Liberman and Netanyahu at Likud Beytenu faction meeting 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Likud central committee members will decide whether or not to remain in a joint list with Yisrael Beytenu in December, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon announced on Sunday.
“Only Likudniks will decide the fate of the Likud movement,” Danon, who is also chairman of the Likud Convention, said.
The Likud Convention will take place on December 15, and its agenda includes a vote on separating from Yisrael Beytenu, after the two parties ran together in January’s national election. Likud has 20 Knesset seats and Yisrael Beytenu has 11, down from a combined 42 in the previous Knesset.
Yisrael Beytenu’s annual convention will take place before the Likud’s and the party may decide to split the lists then. Another option is for the two to remain as they are – separate parties working in the Knesset as a joint list.
A third possibility, which is what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman originally intended, is to fully merge the two parties. Insiders on both sides say this is highly unlikely.
Last week, a Yisrael Beytenu source close to Liberman hinted that the two factions will soon part ways, saying that a year after the union, “the partnership may have outlived its usefulness.”
“It filled its purpose,” he said, “to make sure we have a government led by the Right.”
Likud central committee members will also discuss in December the party’s position on peace talks and freeing terrorists.
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely tendered a letter to Danon on Sunday, asking that he make sure the convention discusses these issues, because “the Likud must draw red lines and warn against the dangers of an interim agreement [with the PLO].”
Other items on the convention’s agenda include changes in the Likud constitution and the way its Knesset candidates list is selected.
In February, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told close allies he would like to replace the Likud primary system with a selection committee, because, he said, people who do not vote for the Likud determine its list for the Knesset, and pressure groups have nearly taken over the party.
Soon thereafter, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat sent Netanyahu a letter to the same effect, demanding he cancel the primary system.
Danon denounced Livnat’s suggestion, saying “a number of people who didn’t succeed in the primary now want to change things.
“The primary system isn’t perfect, but it’s the best way to let the members express what they want for the party,” he said. “Still, it’s legitimate to call a central committee meeting to try to improve the system.”
As for the idea of a selection committee, Danon said it is “undemocratic to have three people choose the list, and it will not pass in the Likud.”