Gideon Sa’ar officially announced he will run in the Likud primaries next month, against the backdrop of early elections and the dispersal of the Knesset.
“For whoever had doubt, I’m declaring my candidacy in the primaries,” he said. “I believe that my success in the first round of voting will assist Likud in succeeding in general elections, as opposed to those who think the Likud will have an easy election.”
He added: “A year and a half ago, I announced that I was returning to public activity, and since then I have been researching the country and conducting political and public activities.”
The Likudnik pledged his support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the face of legal investigations, saying any legal steps taken before Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit publishes his recommendations would violate Netanyahu’s personal rights.
“I think that dealing with the types of indictments of Netanyahu, when the legal adviser has not yet made any decision on any of the issues, is a violation of the prime minister’s right to due process, which is no less than that of any other citizen,” he said.
Sa’ar was not the only member of Netanyahu’s party to pledge his support, as former Jerusalem mayor and Knesset hopeful, Nir Barkat, told Channel 2 he would support Netanyahu even if an indictment were to be filed.
Barkat told the station an indictment did not mean Netanyahu was guilty, and compared it to a six-year legal fight he had with a Jerusalem city council member.
Sa’ar said that he was hurt by his highly-political feud with Netanyahu, but he was not in a personal fight with the premier.
“Public emissaries should always regard the public above the personal,” he said. “The road to election victory is more important than all of us individually. I do not have a fight with the prime minister, because it takes two to fight.”
Netanyahu and the parties in his coalition decided Monday to disperse the Knesset this week and initiate an early general election on April 9, 2019.
Netanyahu boasted to his Likud faction that his coalition lasted four years and had key diplomatic, security and economic accomplishments.
“With God’s help, we will win,” said Netanyahu on Monday, vowing to form the same coalition after the election.
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