Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - In Google Play
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - On the App Store
Tags: netanyahu | party | vote | israel

Netanyahu Faces Test of Party Strength Ahead of Israeli Vote

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 06:17 AM EST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is selecting its March 17 parliamentary election ticket in a race that may shape peacemaking with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s sole opponent is lawmaker Danny Danon, who represents a faction within Likud that opposes Palestinian statehood and is vying to seat more candidates in parliament. Danon today acknowledged he wasn’t expecting to win, Ynet said.

With polls favoring Netanyahu to form the next government, the ticket’s ideological bent will have implications that go beyond party politics. While critics accuse Netanyahu of being unwilling to make the concessions needed to end Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, Danon and his followers say he’s too moderate.

A party ticket dominated by candidates less flexible than the prime minister on peace talks may thwart any attempt at progress with the Palestinians, Yehuda Ben Meir, senior fellow at Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies, said in a phone interview yesterday.

“Netanyahu will basically become a prisoner in his own house,” Ben Meir added.

The last round of U.S.-led peace talks collapsed in April. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the negotiations, has voiced interest in resuming them.

After casting his vote at a Jerusalem polling station, Netanyahu said “these primaries will decide who will receive the authority to lead the Likud and protect the country.”

More Moderate

Netanyahu called early elections Dec. 2 after clashing with members of his governing coalition over issues including peacemaking. Under Israel’s parliamentary system, voters cast ballots for slates and don’t elect their legislators directly. Likud chooses its list through a primary election.

About 96,600 Likud members are eligible to choose among 70 candidates to represent the party in the March race.

“There has been an effort in recent years by religious- nationalist activists to exert more influence in the party,” said Gideon Rahat, a political science professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “It will be interesting to see if the trend continues of more moderate Likud figures being forced out in primaries.”

Netanyahu has accepted the principle of Palestinian statehood, although the Palestinians have accused him of negotiating in bad faith by promoting construction on land they claim. Danon, who challenged Netanyahu for Likud’s leadership in 2007, opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state and rejects international pressure on Israel to cede territory it seized in the 1967 Middle East war.

‘Ideological Roots’

Netanyahu fired him as deputy defense minister in July after he accused the government of not striking hard enough against Palestinian militants during Israel’s summer war in the Gaza Strip.

“I know that this will not be an easy election,” Danon said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions. “I am running a campaign aimed at returning the Likud to its ideological roots.”

Polls show Likud running about even with a joint list headed by Labor party leader Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, the justice minister and chief peace negotiator Netanyahu fired before his government crumbled. While each party would receive about 24 of parliament’s 120 seats, other factions that support Netanyahu’s stance on peace and security issues would gain enough seats to enable him to form a majority coalition, the surveys indicate.

“If more extreme right-wing personalities do well in the primary, that could affect Likud in the general elections, by driving some of its voters to other centrist parties,” said Abraham Diskin, professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

© Copyright 2023 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is selecting its March 17 parliamentary election ticket in a race that may shape peacemaking with the Palestinians. Netanyahu's sole opponent is lawmaker Danny Danon, who represents a faction within Likud that opposes...
netanyahu, party, vote, israel
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 06:17 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved