23:27 GMT06 August 2020
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    Senior Israeli lawmakers are reportedly pondering the replacement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as leader of the Likud party following the introduction of multiple corruption charges against him by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

    According to YNet, the Likud party will hold leadership primaries within the next six weeks. Netanyahu reportedly agreed with the head of Likud's central committee, Haim Katz, to hold a snap leadership vote.

    Gideon Sa’ar, former interior minister and ally of Netanyahu, said earlier this week in a televised interview that the embattled prime minister is not capable of forming a new government, arguing that a third general election must be avoided, challenging Netanyahu to the chairmanship of Likud in a snap primary.

    Likud has reportedly rebuked Sa’ar’s proposal and candidacy, accusing the lawmaker of disloyalty.

    "It is unfortunate to see that while Prime Minister Netanyahu maintains Israel's security on all fronts and works to preserve Likud's rule, Gideon Sa'ar as usual shows zero loyalty and maximum subversion," the statement read, as quoted by Haaretz.

    Israelis have headed to the polls already twice this year and both events have resulted in a hung parliament and an inability to garner a 61-seat coalition needed to form a unity government.

    Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz - opposed to Netanyahu - failed to muster a coalition before the Wednesday deadline, sparking fear of a third election. All sides claim that a third election must be avoided at all costs.

    In addition to a failure to form a unity government, Netanyahu has been mired in several corruption cases that have seen him be indicted this week by Mandelblit.

    Netanyahu and his family have been accused of receiving luxurious gifts, including cigars and champagne, and offering to trade favors for positive coverage in a newspaper. He has denied the charges, describing them as a "witch hunt".

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    Tags:
    charges, corruption, primaries, snap elections, Likud party
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