Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has informed senior Likud officials that he will be running against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for party leadership, Kan News reported on Monday.
The report added that Edelstein has said in recent private conversations that “Netanyahu must be replaced.”
Finance Minister Yisrael Katz and MK Nir Barkat are also reportedly interested in running for leadership of the party.
Barkat is heading a conference this Thursday in Tel Aviv, at which thousands of Likud party members are expected to attend, where he will “present his vision for Israel” in the coming years. When Barkat announced the plan for the conference, Katz accused him of “undermining the prime minister,” although Barkat said that the conference is not political.
Meanwhile, a Yisrael Hayom report on Tuesday said that Netanyahu is pushing to hold early primaries in the Likud. Netanyahu wants the primaries to take place as soon as possible while his standing and popularity in the party is still strong, before the Likud becomes part of the opposition, party sources said.
The report quoted Likud MKs as saying that this could be the beginning of the end of Netanyahu’s political career as opposition to his continued leadership of the party is growing.
The date of Likud primaries is decided by the party secretariat, currently Finance Minister Yisrael Katz, and the chairman of the Likud central committee Chaim Katz. Katz is not in favor of holding primaries at this time.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)