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2019 Likud leadership election

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2019 Likud leadership election

← 2014 26 December 2019
Candidate Benjamin Netanyahu Gideon Sa'ar
Party Likud Likud
Popular vote 41,792 15,885
Percentage 72.5% 27.5%

Likud leader before election

Benjamin Netanyahu

Likud leader after election

Benjamin Netanyahu

A leadership election was held by the Likud party on 26 December 2019. Incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu defeated Gideon Sa'ar by a large majority.[2]


After the April 2019 Israeli legislative election, Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition by the deadline of 29 May. Instead of letting Benny Gantz attempt to form a coalition of his own, the majority of the Knesset dissolved itself, and a snap election was held on 17 September 2019.

The second election was inconclusive, prompting warnings of a third election.[3] The threat was deemed unacceptable by the opposition and the general public, and Netanyahu called on Gantz to form a national unity government, even offering to cede the position of Prime Minister some time in the future.[4] Gantz rejected this offer, noting that Netanyahu's proposed unity government would include all of Netanyahu's right-wing allies, but none of Gantz's centre-left allies. Yair Lapid, then a member of Gantz's Blue and White alliance, also refused to sit with Likud as long as Netanyahu was its leader, due to the criminal cases against Netanyahu.[5]

In October 2019, amid coalition talks, Netanyahu indicated that he was considering holding snap primaries for party leadership. Gideon Sa'ar said in a tweet, "I'm ready."[6] After Netanyahu decided against holding a leadership election, Sa'ar said that he would run in the next election and would support Netanyahu until then.[7]

On 21 November 2019, Netanyahu was officially indicted for breach of trust, accepting bribes, and fraud. As a result of the indictment, some in Likud began to support Sa'ar in his bid for the chairmanship of the party.[8] On 24 November 2019, Sa'ar asked the Likud Central Committee to schedule a party leadership race within two weeks.[9]


Poll Date Netanyahu Sa'ar Other / Don't Know
bnews (strawpoll)[10] 24 November 2019 81% 10% 9%
Channel 13[11] 25 November 2019 53% 40% 7%
Walla![12] 26 November 2019 82% 12% 6%
Channel 12[13] 26 November 2019 89% 4% 7%


2019 Likud leadership election[14][15]
Candidate Votes Percentage
Benjamin Netanyahu 41,792
Gideon Sa'ar 15,885

Sa’ar won 7 of the 116 polling places, with Netanyahu winning the rest. Nearly all of Sa’ar's victories were in majority Druze towns and cities, indicating that Druze voters were still upset over Netanyahu's support of the 2018 Nation State Bill.[16]


The 2020 election was initially a stalemate, which was resolved when Likud reached a coalition agreement with Blue and White. Under the terms of the agreement, the premiership would rotate between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, with Gantz given the new position of Alternate Prime Minister until November 2021.[17] The new cabinet did not include Gideon Sa'ar.[18]

Following the new cabinet's collapse over budgetary issues in December 2020,[19] Sa'ar announced that he would leave Likud and will form his own party, called New Hope.[20] The party contested the 2021 Israeli legislative election, with the intent of forming a governing coalition, and removing Netanyahu from office,[21] and won six seats.[22]


  1. ^ Dror Halavy (27 December 2019). "Netanyahu Wins by a Landslide in South; Likud MKs Call For Unity". Hamodia. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  2. ^ David Horovitz (27 December 2019). "Result was never in doubt, but Netanyahu gets huge boost from crushing Likud win". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  3. ^ Holmes, Oliver (29 May 2019). "Israel to hold new elections after Netanyahu coalition talks fail". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Israel Election Results: Netanyahu Says No Choice but to Form Broad Unity Government". Haaretz. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Gantz says he should lead unity government, rejects coalition led by right". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  6. ^ Azulai, Moran (3 October 2019). "פריימריז בליכוד? גדעון סער: "אני מוכן"". www.calcalist.co.il. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  7. ^ Azulai, Moran (5 October 2019). "סער על יוזמת נתניהו: כינוס המרכז לא נחוץ; אתמודד בפריימריז כשיהיו". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  8. ^ Holmes, Oliver (21 November 2019). "Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu indicted for bribery and fraud". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  9. ^ "נתניהו יתנגד לפריימריז; יועמ"ש הליכוד: אין חובה לקיימם". N12. 24 November 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  10. ^ ניוז, B.- (24 November 2019). "סקר פריימריז בליכוד אילו הבחירות היום ואלו המתמודדים, למי תצביעו?". בִּי נְיוּז (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 28 May 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  11. ^ "סקר: 40 אחוז תמיכה לגדעון סער בליכוד". Kipa (in Hebrew). 26 November 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  12. ^ "סקר וואלה! NEWS: נתניהו מביס את סער בקרב מצביעי הליכוד". Walla! (in Hebrew). 26 November 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  13. ^ "סקר: כחול לבן מובילה על הליכוד ב-7 מנדטים". Israel Hayom (in Hebrew). Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu comfortably wins party leadership challenge". BBC. 27 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  15. ^ Krauss, Joseph (27 December 2019). "Israel's embattled Netanyahu wins landslide in primary". AP News. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Netanyahu Wins by a Landslide in South; Likud MKs Call For Unity". Hamodia. 27 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  17. ^ Eglash, Ruth (17 May 2020). "After three elections and political deadlock, Israel finally swears in new government". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Thirty-Fifth Government". Knesset. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  19. ^ Wootliff, Raoul. "Israel calls 4th election in 2 years as Netanyahu-Gantz coalition collapses". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Gideon Sa'ar quits Likud, 'a tool for Netanyahu's interests,' to lead new party". The Times of Israel. 8 December 2020. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  21. ^ "N12 - סער: "נקים ועדת חקירה ממלכתית לבדיקת מחדלי הקורונה"". N12. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  22. ^ "תוצאות האמת של הבחירות לכנסת ה-24". votes24.bechirot.gov.il (in Hebrew). Central Elections Committee. Retrieved 5 April 2021.