Liberman set to unveil Yisrael Beytenu’s slate for April election
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Liberman set to unveil Yisrael Beytenu’s slate for April election

Former defense minister’s party currently polling at a dangerously low 4-5 seats ahead of national vote

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman launches his party's elections campaign in Tel Aviv on January 20, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman launches his party's elections campaign in Tel Aviv on January 20, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman will on Tuesday present his party’s candidates for the upcoming general election.

The party is currently polling at around 4-5 seats, hovering over the electoral threshhold. It holds 6 seats in the current parliament.

According to the Ynet news site, Liberman will present his candidates for the first 20 spots, while the party hopes that, polls not withstanding, it will eventually win 8-9 seats.

Unveiling his campaign in January, the former defense minister launched a broadside against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “confused and capitulating” leader and promising that he will “not be cowed” by threats others have given into.

Liberman presented himself as a hawk and a tough guy who will keep the government “on the right path.”

“We stick to our principles, not our seats,” he added, referencing his November decision to resign from the government, which he said he did out of a principled stance in defense of the beleaguered residents of southern Israel, after a ceasefire agreement he opposed was reached with Hamas.

Liberman resigned as defense minister less than 24 hours after the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, arguing that he could no longer be a part of a government that caves to terror. His announcement spared no criticism of the prime minister and his Likud party, as well as from fellow coalition parties Jewish Home and Kulanu, portraying them as weak on security matters.

Liberman has not committed to boycotting a future government led by the current prime minister, but said that “nothing is for certain” and declared he would “only sit in a government where our demands are met and our principles respected.”

Earlier this month Ynet reported that Liberman has claimed Netanyahu will likely fail to form a government even if his Likud party wins the elections, due to coalition partners’ refusal to serve under a premier who may by then be formally accused of criminal offenses.

Police have recommended Netanyahu stand trial for bribery in three separate corruption cases. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is currently reviewing the material and is reportedly set to announce a decision this month, but final charges would only be filed after a hearing procedure, which could take up to a year.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing, and has claimed the investigations are part of a political vendetta and witch hunt aimed at ousting him, involving the political left, the media and the police.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

 

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