Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Benjamin Netanyahu and Yuli Edelstein. (Archive: June 10, 2014)

The 40 top-ranking Likud Knesset members were asked to sign a petition on Sunday reaffirming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the party’s candidate to form the government after the upcoming elections.

Likud MK David Bitan started the petition after Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beitenu said on Saturday evening that he would prefer someone other than Netanyahu as a Likud candidate for prime minister. Liberman went on to suggest Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

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Liberman’s suggestion coincided with Yair Netanyahu accusing Yuli Edelstein, on Twitter, of attempting to oust his father, PM Netanyahu, from the party. Yair Netanyahu later deleted the tweet and said it was only his opinion and not said on behalf of his father.

Liberman has been promoting the idea of a unity government with the Blue and White and Likud parties – if the Likud puts forth a candidate other than Netanyahu for prime minister.

The Blue and White members have also said they are open to the idea, stressing they only oppose Netanyahu, and not the Likud party per se.

Yair Lapid, who is one of the Blue and White party’s candidates for PM, as part of the rotation agreement, claims that Likud MKs also would like to see Netanyahu leave but are too afraid to act. He tweeted that “The only difference between what I say about Bibi and what the Likud members say about him is that I say it in the media, and they tell it to me on the phone.”

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