The central committee of Israel's right-wing Likud opposition party decided Tuesday to choose a candidate in seven days' time for the post of prime minister, between former government leader Benjamin Netanyahu and current Likud leader Ariel Sharon.
The central committee voted in favor of the date and said that if more than two candidates present themselves and none wins more than 40 percent of the votes, a second round will be held next Wednesday.
Netanyahu and Sharon both confirmed their candidacy during the central committee meeting.
Earlier, Netanyahu spoke to several hundred militants to call for parliamentary elections to be organised, and not just an election for the post of prime minister.
He said at the Likud meeting that he had agreed with Sharon “to lead the country together towards a better future.”
Netanyahu announced two days ago that he would run for his party's leadership, and for the premiership following the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Israeli law does not, however, allow him to nominate himself to replace Barak because he is not currently a Knesset member.
He quit the Knesset following Barak's win in the May 1999 elections.
In his speech Tuesday, Netanyahu (Bibi) said that early elections for premiership should be held. He accused Barak of playing tricks to rescue himself, adding that Barak’s policies have brought Israel close to war.
Netanyahu vowed that he would apply policies that guarantee the restoration of security and the dignity of Israel.
At Camp David, Barak went too far in offering compromises to the Palestinians, according to Bibi, who said “what we got in return was more violence, terror and lynching.”
He mentioned that when he was prime minister, he warned that “when we make concessions to the Arabs, they will ask for one thing: more. If not, they will attack us.”
Netanyahu warned that “all the country will be Gilo if we go Barak’s way. He will take a cautious approach to have peace. What peace? A cold peace prevailing in the region under the circumstances.”
The former premier said that Palestinians will get something “only if they prove in the long run that they are serious about peace.” He added that he is realistic, unlike Barak who only has dreams and illusions.
He ended by saying “with joined forces, Likud will win.” -- Albawaba.com
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