PM Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370 (R).
(photo credit: Pool / Emil Zalman / Haaretz)
Sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied a report in the
Ma’ariv newspaper Wednesday that he intends to advance the next primary for
leader of Likud.
Netanyahu took such a step in January 2012, catching his
rivals off guard. He could justify moving up the race again, because Labor
leader Shelly Yacimovich took such a step in her party.
for Netanyahu advancing the race include a desire to take advantage of his
current popularity and an intention to hold the primary before possible
concessions to the Palestinians in the current diplomatic process.
source close to the prime minister said that “at the moment he does not intend
to advance the primary.”
Another Netanyahu associate said that “such a
move is always an option, so the headline is never actually wrong but that
doesn’t make it right either.”
In the 2012 primary, then-vice premier
Silvan Shalom and other possible candidates decided not to run, leaving current
MK Moshe Feiglin as Netanyahu’s sole challenger.
declined to respond to the Ma’ariv
Feiglin denounced the report
as a rumor. He said he was ready to run at any time, but that for the good of
the Likud, he hoped the report was not true.
“This trend of holding
primaries whenever it is good for the leader is a sign of the deterioration of
our democracy,” Shalom said.
“That is not the way a democracy should be