A rival to Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew from the Likud Party
Silvan Shalom, a former Israeli foreign minister, announced
Monday that he would not take part in a Likud leadership election that
Netanyahu, the incumbent, wants to hold in September.
Shalom accused Netanyahu of trying to rush the ballot in
order to secure his place at the top ahead of Israel’s next general elections.
The Likud Central Committee is to convene Tuesday to decide when to hold the
vote. Shalom’s withdrawal leaves Netanyahu, a former prime minister, with
little viable opposition within Likud. Likely opponent Moshe Feiglin, a
rightist settler leader, has limited support among the party’s rank and file.
According to most polls, Netanyahu would win the
premiership over Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak
were general elections held today.