Netanyahu downplays Feiglin factor in Likud

According to primary results, Netanyahu won 79.79% of votes compared to Feiglin's 23.21%; Feiglin still declares victory.

Netanyahu at the polls_390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Netanyahu at the polls_390
(photo credit: Reuters)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Likud ministers on Sunday that he does not believe that party activist Moshe Feiglin will impact their future, or that of the party.
According to preliminary results of the election, Netanyahu won 48,490 votes (76.79 percent) in last Tuesday’s Likud leadership race, compared to Feiglin’s 14,660 (23.21%).
Despite receiving a smaller percentage of the vote than he did in the last race in 2007, Feiglin declared victory and vowed to use his power in the party to make the next Likud list more right wing.
“You should not be afraid of Feiglin,” Netanyahu told the ministers in the closed-door meeting according to one minister.
“There are many forces that will have an impact on the make-up of our list and I will be the primary force.” According to another minister, Netanyahu also said he would not consider the ranking of the Likud’s next Knesset list when he chooses his ministers from the party in his next government.
Netanyahu is expected to oppose proposals in the Likud central committee aiming to restore the committee’s right to select the party’s MKs. When Netanyahu became Likud leader following the formation of Kadima in 2005, he passed a proposal taking away the power to select MKs from the central committee and giving it to the party members as a whole.
Referring to some of Feiglin’s more extreme views, Netanyahu said “The Likud will not become messianic. We will remain a liberal, democratic party.”