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Netanyahu said seeking to cancel Likud leadership race if third elections held

Prime Minister Netanyahu is looking to cancel Likud party primaries and the race for party leader if a third round of elections are held, the Walla news site reports.

According to the news site, Netanyahu has already informed Likud MKs of his intention to keep the party’s electoral slate in place if Israel again goes to the polls, despite Likud’s constitution requiring primaries and leadership race in case elections are called.

Citing Likud officials, the report says Netanyahu will try to link shelving the primaries to canceling the leadership race

“The new MKs on the list who still haven’t completed a year in office will do everything to not go to primaries in which they can lose their spots and therefore it is everyone’s interest to maintaining the existing situation,” one of the officials is quoted saying.

The official says Netanyahu has already discussed nixing the primaries with Likud MK Haim Katz, who heads the party’s powerful Central Committee.

Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar, considered Netanyahu’s top rival in the party, has already announced he’ll challenge the premier for leadership of Likud if primaries are called.

With Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz’s chances appearing slim to form a government after Netanyahu failed to do so following elections in September, the potential for a third round of elections in less than a year has grown.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (shakes hands with Gideon Sa’ar (right) during a Likud party meeting at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on March 11, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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