Likud faction director MK Yariv Levin dismisses reporter questions about whether his party has alternative plans for leadership should its longtime head Benjamin Netanyahu fail to form a government following the November 1 election, after submitting Likud’s list of candidates to the Central Elections Committee.
“He is our candidate for prime minister,” Levin says of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc is ahead of Lapid’s so-called change bloc in polls, but neither is currently projected to have a decisive path to power. A wildcard affecting Netanyahu’s camp is whether Ayelet Shaked, whose Yamina party earlier merged with Jewish Home to run under the latter’s name, will pull critical votes away from Likud’s control.
Shaked, who has yet to present her candidate list, is polling under the electoral threshold and could burn right-wing votes if she doesn’t pass into Knesset.
Alternatively, if Shaked does make it over the four-seat hurdle, she has indicated her intention to support Netanyahu for prime minister. Shaked, behind former political partner and former prime minister Naftali Bennett, begrudgingly lent her hand to creating the outgoing big-tent coalition of right, left and centrist parties, as well as an Arab faction.
“Of course there’s a worry that [right-wing voters] might make a mistake again and vote for parties that are right-wing in their hearts but then go with the left, and we have enough experience with this with Ayelet Shaked and others,” says Levin, stopping short of calling for Shaked to quit the race.
“I don’t deal with other parties and don’t [tell] anyone about what to do,” he adds.
Levin is No. 2 on Likud’s electoral list, after securing the top spot behind Netanyahu in the right-wing party’s primaries.