Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking steps to dismiss coalition chairman MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) following his vote in favor of the regularization bill, Maariv reported Thursday.
The bill, which would have retroactively authorized West Bank outposts, was defeated in the Knesset Wednesday with 69 opposed, 22 in favor and 29 abstentions. Netanyahu had warned coalition ministers he would fire them if they voted for the bill, a move that effectively delivered a death-blow to the proposed legislation.
In the aftermath of the vote Netanyahu is seeking to replace Elkin, who in addition to promoting the bill, publicly criticized Netanyahu for his opposition to it, calling into question his pro-settler credentials. According to Maariv, sources close to the prime minister dub the Soviet Union-born Elkin a “triple agent,” who caters to the interests of Yisrael Beytenu and of the settlers.
Potential replacements for Elkin include Likud MKs Carmel Shama-HaCohen and Ofir Akunis. The move will likely not be simple however, as voting for the coalition chairman is done by secret ballot, meaning Netanyahu has no guarantees of imposing his will.
Elkin said he received no word from the Prime Minister’s Office. However, should anyone want to run for his office, he would welcome any democratic decision.