Likud, the party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is holding its primaries tomorrow. With indictments pending against Netanyahu, the prime minister faces challenges both from former cabinet minister Gideon Sa’ar and the dissident New Likud faction. The results of the primary will determine the makeup the final Likud slate running in the April 9 Knesset elections.

What’s at stake?
The primaries determine the order of individual candidates on the party list for the April 9 election.

Why does a member of Knesset’s place on the party list matter?
Israel has a proportional representation system, meaning political parties’ presence in parliament corresponds to the portion of the national vote they receive. A party receiving 25 percent of the vote, for instance, would receive 30 seats (of 120).

In this scenario, the first thirty people on the party list would become members of Knesset, while number thirty-one and up would be left out. Thus, the higher up you are on the party list, the more realistic it is that you will be elected. The number one spot in a party goes to its leader who is the list’s de facto candidate for prime minister (Israel does not have direct elections to the premiership). Other top positions tend to go out to MKs who end up receiving ministerial portfolios in the next government.

Parties in Israel often save different spots on the list for people who fit a certain profile, be they ethnic or linguistic minorities, women, people from a certain region, or other demographics. For example, spots twenty-two and beyond in the Likud list are reserved for representatives of specific areas. Last month, the Likud Central Committee conferred more direct control over the list to Netanyahu, who reserved several spots for candidates of his choosing. This means only the first eighteen positions on the list are open to a nationwide primary vote.

Who is running for the leadership of Likud?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud’s incumbent leader, faces a challenge from former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar. A member of Knesset from 2003 to 2014, Sa’ar left politics before the last Knesset elections in preparation for an anticipated run in the next Likud primary. Now, Sa’ar is angling for the number two spot in the party, but he could still carve a path to the premiership if Likud leads the next coalition.

Currently, the president of Israel assigns a member of Knesset with the task of forming a new coalition government after elections. The president consults party heads to hear their recommendations, and the responsibility always falls on a party leader. However, any MK could legally be appointed. Speculation abounded that if Likud were to lead the next government, President Reuven Rivlin would offer Likud another deputy the chance at the premiership because of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s pending indictments in three corruption cases. Rivlin and Sa’ar have denied any association with such a move, but Netanyahu still pushed for legislation that would force the president to pick a party head to be prime minister. However, the so-called “Gideon Sa’ar bill” never actually passed before Netanyahu dissolved the last Knesset. Beyond Benjamin Netanyahu, Gideon Sa’ar and incumbent ministers like Yisrael Katz, Gilad Erdan, and Miri Regev are expected to finish near the top of the list.

What is the New Likud?
The New Likud is an internal faction that opposes Netanyahu on the basis of his corruption charges. Netanyahu, other Likud MKs, and some right-wing pundits have accused New Likud MKs of being leftists and engaging in subversion. The Likud Central Committee voted to disqualify 14 New Likudniks from running in the primaries. The Likud Elections Committee disqualified an additional two last week. Members of the dissident bloc threatened to appeal the ban to Israel’s High Court of Justice, describing it as a form of political persecution. Likud’s own internal tribunal reversed the ban on Nir Hirshman, a New Likud leader. The faction’s desired list includes Hirshman, as well as Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, MKs Yehuda Glick, Sharren Haskel, and Nurit Koren, as well as Jerusalem ex-Mayor Nir Barakat, and lobbyist Keren Barak.

The New Likud claims a following of 8,000 people out of Likud’s nationwide membership of 125,000.