Former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat formally launched his national election campaign on Wednesday, announcing he will be running for a spot on the Likud primaries list. His campaign slogan, "A Force for Likud," was disseminated with his picture to media outlets across the country.After completing his term as Jerusalem's mayor in mid-November, Barkat emphasized to Likud officials his experiences as the commander of a paratrooper unit, a high-tech pioneer and in bringing positive changes to Jerusalem.In a statement to the media, Barkat said that he supported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud in the last election, and brought thousands of new members into the movement. Netanyahu praised Barkat's decision, saying that the former mayor would be "an important addition to Likud.""Our mission is to build a team that will bring a new force and the wider public to the Likud movement," Barkat said. "Only a large Likud, led by Netanyahu as leader of the national camp, will ensure Israel's security and economic stability."Barkat was not the former political figure who announced his campaign for the upcoming elections this week.On Tuesday, former Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon announced that he will form a new party.In a Facebook video, Ya'alon said that he will be leading a "new political force" for the next elections "which are so incredibly important for the future of Israel."
(In Hebrew)Similarly, former Yisrael Beiteinu member, Orly Levy-Abekasis, likewise announced that she will also form her own party, Gesher [Bridge].Levy-Abekasis is the daughter of noted Israeli politician David Levy, and a former model and television anchor with a track record of Knesset activity, specifically focused on social-welfare issues.On Wednesday, the Knesset is slated to pass a bill to disperse. Once the bill passes, parties and potential parties have until February 21 to register that they are running with the Central Election Committee, which must approve their candidacies. Primaries - for those parties who have them - will take place in the end of January or early February.Elections are scheduled for April 9. The earliest that a new government could be formed is May 28.
Moshe Ya"alon announces new party under his leadership to run in national elections, December 25, 2018 (Courtesy)