JERUSALEM (VINnews) — The Likud party held primaries Wednesday to determine their Knesset list for the forthcoming Israeli elections. 58% of Likud voters participated in the primaries and based on polls and about 50% of the votes counted, the new list will contain many of former prime minister Netanyahu’s vociferous supporters, while those who had either criticized him or remained on the sidelines have been pushed down the list.
The current list – subject to minor changes – sees the top ten on the Likud list as: Yariv Levin, Eli Cohen, Yoav Gallant, David Amsalem, Yoav Kisch, Nir Barkat, Miri Regev, Avi Dichter and Yisrael Katz. All (besides Barkat) have served in the past in ministerial positions in the Likud and are strong supporters of Netanyahu, who still maintains his popularity in the Likud and even in the general public, where he is rated the most suitable of all candidates for prime minister. Barkat, a frontrunner to succeed Netanyahu as Likud leader, has stressed that he will not compete until Netanyahu steps down.
MKs who have been pushed down the list include former minister for environment Gila Gamliel,Tzahi Hanegbi, who served as agriculture minister in a previous government and Yuli Edelstein, the former health minister who had contemplated running against Netanyahu and paid the price for his opposition. All these members could still be in the next Knesset if the Likud is in government, due to the Norwegian law allowing ministers to resign their Knesset seat which is then given to the next person on the list.
The new members of the Likud will include a number of journalists, including Boaz Bismuth and Tali Gottlieb, as well as Erez Tadmor, founder of conservatist group Im Tirtzu and a former speechwriter for Netanyahu.