Benjamin Netanyahu .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared for the first time Wednesday that he intends to run for an unprecedented fifth term in the next general election, promising to lead the Likud to 40 seats.
In a meeting of his party’s faction, Netanyahu called upon Likud MKs to maintain the current system of electing its candidates for the Knesset.
The Likud central committee will meet in three weeks to decide whether to change the system in which MKs currently are elected by the wider party membership of some 70,000 people. There are some in the Likud who want only the 3,000 member Likud central committee members to vote for MKs.
“I think keeping the current system of primaries is best for the Likud,” Netanyahu said.
“This system is not ideal, but it is the best for several reasons.”
Netanyahu’s reasons included that the wider the voting body the better choices there will be and the harder it will be for the party to be tainted by the negative image of the central committee.
Several Likud MKs backed up the prime minister, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi, and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.
“The current system is the worst of all evils,” Ya’alon said.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev also called for keeping primaries, but said “the central committee is not corrupt.”
MK David Amsalem led the voices in favor of limiting the vote to central committee members.
“When the central committee chose the Likud’s candidates, we had the most successful and principled list in the Likud’s history,” Amsalem told the faction. “Let’s fix the problems in our current system and restore life to the party.”