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Israel: Netanyahu rival moves up Likud list after primary recount

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 4, 2018 [Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 4 October 2018 [Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]

Gideon Sa’ar, a key rival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu within the Likud party, moved up to third place in the party’s election slate yesterday, following a recount of the party’s primary vote.

According to The Times of Israel, Sa’ar rose one spot to third after the recount, thus placing him at number four on the Likud slate, behind Netanyahu’s reserved first spot.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein came first in the primary, followed by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Sa’ar, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Culture Minister Miri Regev.

“Netanyahu ordered the recount”, the report stated, “after hundreds of votes disappeared in the original count”. Following the discovery of voting irregularities, “all polling stations re-entered their votes in a database”.

As well as missing votes, “other significant irregularities in the original count included multiple cases of specific candidates receiving more votes in some locales than the total number of ballots cast in those places”.

Sa’ar’s strong showing constitutes a “rebuke to Netanyahu by Likud party rank and file after the prime minister launched a frontal assault on Sa’ar’s candidacy, accusing Sa’ar in a pre-vote video of plotting to replace him”, the report added.

READ: Israel Knesset Speaker calls to ‘remove’ Palestine

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