01:24 GMT24 November 2020
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    Over a hundred thousand Likud members are casting their ballots to determine the leader of the party in a primary vote that began in Israel at 9:00 local time. The results of the vote are expected to be announced on Friday.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing an internal challenge within his own Likud party, as his seat as the party's chair, which he occupied for over a decade, will be contested in a primary vote held on Thursday.

    Former Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar, in particular, is determined to unsaddle Netanyahu, expressing confidence that he, unlike the current Prime Minister, will succeed in forming a new government in March.

    Sa'ar's campaign manager, Yoav Kisch, told Israeli Army Radio, that the ex-interior minister's candidacy could bring about change that will be beneficial for the Likud Party.

    Netanyahu has previously questioned Sa'ar's leadership qualities, depicting him as an unseasoned politician.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on December 1, 2019.
    © AFP 2020 / ABIR SULTAN
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on December 1, 2019.

    Retired Brig. Gen. Meir Elran, a senior research fellow and head of three security programmes at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, says that for almost a year now, Israel has been in a political deadlock.

    "And this is not something that can be or would be resolving anytime soon because of the nature of a political system in Israel, which is based on a parliamentary elections that constitute consequently the coalition government and as the political deadlock, as I said before. And also, we will not be able to constitute the new government. And this is really a major issue for Israel because it blocks everything in the country, the regular life in terms of decisions on the part of the government, etc..", Elran adds.

    According to him, there are several options as to what can be done:

    "Number one, that there will be a change in the Constitution or the political structure in Israel in the sense that there are going to be other relations to establish a government. The other thing is that the future of the prime minister in Israel will be decided by the court, for once it starts. But this will again take time. And that's another option. So in the foreseeable future, I do not see any opening of the situation and we are probably going to stay in this kind of a deadlock for a long time. The third one that there will be a shift in the power structure in Israel - but this, again, is something that is not really predictable. So as a matter of fact, taking into account those three elements, I don't see a major change for the better in the foreseeable future, as I said".

    The prime minister himself, however, is currently embroiled in a controversy that has cast a shadow on his reputation as he is facing corruption indictments against him and his wife Sara. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing, calling it "an attempted coup" against an acting prime minister.

    Netanyahu's premiership and Likud leadership were also dampened by two unsuccessful votes this year, after which the government was unable to form a majority coalition, prompting the Israeli Parliament to dissolve. The next election is set for 2 March 2020.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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