Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to ask the Likud Central Committee Sunday to hold primaries on December 25.
Central Committee Chairman MK Danny Danon had previously announced that the primaries would be held January 28, but Netanyahu is reportedly angling for an earlier date in order to bolster his position ahead of a party meeting, the date of which is still up in the air, in which electoral reform for Likud’s candidates for the Knesset will be introduced.
In early October, Channel 2 reported Netanyahu was set to introduce a series of changes to bolster his control of the Likud party and its Knesset slate, including scheduling primaries earlier than originally planned — ahead of what sources in the party said was the growing likelihood of general elections taking place within the next year.
Netanyahu, who is facing little opposition in his bid for reelection as party chairman, is expected to win the vote by a wide margin.
The premier will also reportedly seek to revise party policies to allow him to reserve every 10th seat for one of his own candidates, to advance regional candidates at the expense of the national list, and to move voting on regional candidates from the national caucus to the Likud Central Committee.
These maneuvers would serve to increase Netanyahu’s control over the party list.
Despite rampant speculation that the country will hold early elections within the next year, Netanyahu has been quoted as saying “elections are the last thing the people of Israel need right now.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.