Israel have canceled a planned primary election for party leadership, placing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the leader of Israel until at least 2023.
An internal court ruled that the Likud Party should not spend the $1 million needed to hold a vote .
“In these conditions, the election is no longer necessary and Likud leadership has declared the winner as Benjamin Netanyahu,” a Likud spokesman told AFP.
Senior party members are thought to be skeptical of the decision, as it was Netanyahu himself who called for a primary election on February 23, less than a year after the last general election held in March.
Early elections stirred up controversy in Israel. It is widely believed that by pushing for a vote far earlier than expected, Netanyahu hoped to secure his position, as such a move would not let any potential rivals, like Gideon Sa’ar, to enter the race in time.
Victory in an early primary would help the politically embattled Israeli prime minister to protect his legitimacy as a party leader from challenges later in his current term.
Israeli analysts believe Netanyahu will appoint another Likud minister to the government. Coalition partners oppose the appointment, fearing it will give Likud too big a majority.
Netanyahu has been Israel’s prime minister for almost a decade.