Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the regime’spresident Reuven Rivlin and a former minister of conspiring to topple him.
According to Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom, Netanyahu has been delaying a decision on bringing forward the 2019 elections, due to fears that Rivlin could task someone else with forming a cabinet.
Under the scheme, Rivlin would use his prerogative as the head of the Israeli regime to name an alternative Likud candidate to head a post-election cabinet.
Netanyahu told a gathering of his right-wing Likud party on Wednesday night that former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar had sought to conspire with the president to compel him to step down from the premiership.
“I know that a former Likud minister has been holding discussions with the coalition and concocted a subversive plot, with me winning a large victory at the next elections and him making sure I am not prime minister,” Netanyahu said.
Sa’ar, a former cabinet minister and a rising star within Likud, on Thursday publicly denied any such maneuvers, while Rivlin mocked the claim as “paranoia” on the premier’s part.
Sources close to the prime minister have also claimed that Netanyahu had found out about a plot to oust him from power, even if Likud won the election.
It is the president, whose role is otherwise ceremonial, that decides following an election which member of the Knesset will be the next prime minister, should he or she successfully cobble together a viable ruling coalition.
Following the 2009 legislative election, Netanyahu’s Likud was only the second largest Knesset faction with 27 seats to Kadima’s 28. Nevertheless, then-president Shimon Peres tasked Netanyahu with forming the next cabinet.
Haaretz said, “If Netanyahu decided against moving up the elections it’s not because President Rivlin or former Likud minister Sa’ar is out to get him, but rather to avoid coinciding with an indictment that might lose him the elections.”
Netanyahu faces possible charges in separate corruption investigations, leading to speculation that he will eventually be forced to step down. On October 5, police quizzed him for a 12th time as a suspect in various cases.
The scandals resulting from accusations against Netanyahu and his inner circle have raised questions about his political survival.
Netanyahu, who maintains his innocence in several corruption cases, is not obliged to step down as prime minister even if he is formally charged.
Israel’s next legislative elections are scheduled for November 2019 but early polls could be held if Netanyahu’s ruling coalition faces a crisis.