Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the Likud Constitution Committee for only a single reserved spot on the party’s list for the April elections, and it’s way downlist, too: the 21st spot, with polls predicting a 25 to 30 seat win for the Likud in the next Knesset.
In the previous elections, Netanyahu reserved to spots for candidates that were elected outside the primary vote – the 11th and 23rd – which the PM assigned to Benny Begin and Anat Barako.
The relatively low reserved spot means that Bibi is not planning to attract a new, big name to his party’s Knesset delegation.
Netanyahu, the Likud chairman, also suggested to the committee that every incumbent Likud MK should be elected on the party’s national list, and not represent the interest group or region that got him in originally. The immediate victim of this move would be Communications Minister Ayyub Kara, a Druze.
According to Netanyahu’s proposal, the candidates who will be elected on the national list will be positioned up to the 20th post and in six spots between the 21st and 30th. This leaves only 3 spots for new candidates to be elected through the various interest groups. This way the PM limits the number of unknowns in his Knesset faction who could threaten the prime minister’s situation if and when he is indicted for corruption.
In the same vein, last week Channel 2 reported that, following the recent split between Habayit Hayehudi and the New Right, and the decision by former Shas chairman Eli Yishai to compete against his former party, the Prime Minister is considering merging with several right-wing parties. Netanyahu even launched in-depth surveys to examine how a merge with Finance Minister Kahlon and former DM Liberman would affect the votes.
Channel 2’s Amit Segal reported on Tuesday that Netanyahu sees his main threat coming not from the center or the left, nor Ganz or Lapid, but the vote threshold.
Today there are seven parties on the right, six of which are hovering just above the dangerous threshold. Therefore, Netanyahu, who was unable to pass legislation that would lower the threshold, began to examine in depth surveys on the possibility of combining several right-wing lists.
But Kahlon and Liberman insist that they prefer running alone, even if it means facing difficulties in passing the vote threshold.
Such a union would be for the purposes of entering the next Knesset only, and would not force the various lists to change their platforms. But it seems that if Netanyahu gets into legal trouble before the elections, it would help the other right-wing parties that would be delighted to offered an alternative to Bibi’s disappointed voters.