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Governing Likud Party holds early primary elections

February 23, 2016 - ISRAEL

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud Party holds its primary election early. Netanyahu argued that moving the vote forward would stabilise the governing coalition, which has a razor-thin majority, and increase the party’s readiness for the next election.

Netanyahu led his party to victory in the March election, so he is all but assured of re-election as party chairman and premiership nominee. Al Monitor describes Netanyahu’s manoeuvre as the launch of his campaign for a fifth term as prime minister A Times of Israel report on the upcoming primaries notes opponents have argued that bringing forward the vote instead of holding it closer to the next general elections may stymie attempts by potential competitors to run against the prime minister, thus securing Netanyahu’s position as the leading candidate. Primaries, which are conducted by several Israeli political parties, enable party members — rather than internal committees — to elect a leader and the lists of candidates for general elections. The newspaper notes that in June, Netanyahu fought off a bid to have the power to choose candidates returned to the Likud Central Committee. Netanyahu received 77 percent of the primary vote in 2013, and 74 percent in 2007.

Likud approves PM’s call for early leadership primaries (Times of Israel 29 Dec 2015)

Netanyahu launches campaign for his fifth term (Al Monitor 21 Dec 2015)

Disgruntled ministers don’t openly back Netanyahu primary push (Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2015)

Netanyahu Wins Likud Party Primary: Ministers Erdan, Edelstein Get Top Spots (Haaretz 1 Jan 2015)

Netanyahu named Likud leader absent a primary challenger (JTA 14 Jan 2016)