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Israel’s Likud rules out Netanyahu stepping aside

Published: Updated:

Lawmakers from Israel’s ruling Likud party say they will only accept Benjamin Netanyahu as the party’s candidate for prime minister, “regardless of the election results.”

Netanyahu’s party issued a statement Sunday saying that all of its Knesset members signed a “unity petition” affirming that Netanyahu “is the only Likud candidate for prime minister - and there will be no other candidate.”

The move appeared aimed at quashing any demand by potential coalition partners that Netanyahu step down.

Netanyahu passed David Ben-Gurion last month as Israel’s longest serving prime minister and seeks re-election for a fourth consecutive term. Israel is holding an unprecedented repeat election on September 17 after Netanyahu failed to form a government following April’s vote.

He also faces a pre-indictment hearing in a series of corruption cases.