JERUSALEM (JNS) — Likud MK and former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat suggested a plan on Sunday to hold elections for a Likud Party “deputy leader,” who would automatically assume the “most senior post in the government or the Knesset after the chairman of the party” and take over the premiership should the prime minister be removed from office.
Currently, when the prime minister travels or undergoes a medical procedure under sedation, he names another Likud minister to stand in for him.
Barkat said his model is “inspired by the U.S. model, [with] the president and vice president working together.”
“I would like to offer my support to Prime Minister and Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, and wish us all a fair trial, which will prove his innocence, and allow him to continue to lead the State of Israel with great success, as he has done so far, for many more years,” said Barkat in a statement.
“Selecting and appointing a replacement for the chairman at this time,” said Barkat, “will ensure backing for the chairman of the movement, Benjamin Netanyahu, enable governmental continuity and party unity in the event of Prime Minister Netanyahu needing to step aside, and enable the establishment of a national government at the same time.”
The suggestion comes days after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit formally announced his decision to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases. On Sunday, Netanyahu rival and Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar formally appealed to Likud Central Committee chairman Chaim Katz to hold snap party primaries.
Adopting his plan, said Barkat, would “thwart attempts to divide the party, and strengthen Likud.”