Tags: Israel | israel | primary | netanyahu

Embattled Netanyahu Declares Victory in Israel Primary

Netanyahu supporters
Supporters hold up banners for Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel last month. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Thursday, 26 December 2019 05:35 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory early Friday in his primary election battle for leadership of the Likud party, as TV stations predicted a landslide win for the longtime Israeli leader.

The apparent victory means that Netanyahu will lead Likud into March elections, the country's third election in less than a year. He is also likely to seize on the victory as he battles criminal corruption charges.

“A giant victory,” Netanyahu tweeted, just over an hour after polls closed.

“Thanks to the members of Likud for the trust, support and love,” he said. “God willing, I will lead Likud to a big victory in the coming elections.”

Partial results reported by Israeli TV stations showed Netanyahu capturing between 70% and 80% of the vote, trouncing his challenger, lawmaker Gideon Saar.

Official results were expected later Friday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday faced the first serious internal challenge to his decade-long rule as his party held a primary vote following his failure to form a government and his indictment on corruption charges.

Veteran Likud party member Gideon Saar hoped to unseat Netanyahu, telling voters he would be better placed to form a government after national elections in March.

Despite the indictment, Netanyahu remains popular among Likud members, and the fiercely loyal party — which has only had four leaders since its inception in the 1970s — stood firmly behind the long-serving leader. He was expected to defeat Saar, and a win could strengthen his hand going into the next national vote.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory early Friday in his primary election battle for leadership of the Likud party, as TV stations predicted a landslide win for the longtime Israeli leader. The apparent victory means that Netanyahu will lead Likud into...
israel, primary, netanyahu
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2019-35-26
Thursday, 26 December 2019 05:35 PM
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