A spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in a statement that the Likud would hold party primaries for its leadership, if new general parliamentary elections are ultimately called upon.
In spite of the announcement, which was warmly welcomed by the Prime Minister’s main party rival Gideon Saar; domestic media reports highlighted efforts by Netanyahu’s political allies to assure his continued leadership over the Likud party.
Speaking at a special meeting in Jerusalem for the Israel Allies Foundation this morning, Knesset Member Sa’ar responded to a question on whether he would support Prime Minister Netanyahu during the anticipated 2020 election, if the latter wins the Likud primaries saying “In one word the answer is, Yes. In one sentence, I intend to contend with the aim of winning (the Likud leadership). In two sentences, you must always contend with an aim to win, and to honor once a democratic decision is made.”
Sa’ar, who currently serves as a member of the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee cited three separate polls that were published in the past week, which found that if Sa’ar were to replace Netanyahu as Likud chairman, the right-wing-ultra orthodox bloc would grow to 57 seats. The politician said, “If I am elected as the Likud Chairperson, I will lead it (Likud) to victory (general elections) for the sake of a government lead by the Likud. Yesterday, a third published poll within one week, that clearly projects that a right-wing bloc under my leadership will grow. And, that I receive additional votes for the National (Right-wing) Bloc from the opposing (Center-left) bloc. This is dramatic, especially when it is published prior to my candidacy or primary victory. That is why I’m convinced that if I win and head the Likud, I will bring about a victory for the Likud and a government under my leadership. Whenever we establish such a government, all Zionist parties will be invited for negotiations. It is also clear that if we continue down the current road (3rd elections under Netanyahu’s leadership), we won’t attain a better position, based on the outcome of the past two elections.”
It is important to note that under Sa’ar’s leadership the right-wing religious bloc would gain additional seats. The referred to poll also found that the Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership would secure two mandates more than Gideon Sa’ar.