Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a resounding victory against his rival Gideon Sa’ar in the primary election for the leadership of Israel’s ruling Likud party.
Local Makan reported today that Netanyahu garnered 72.5 per cent of the party members’ votes, with Sa’ar attaining 27.5 per cent. Seventy-year-old Netanyahu has chaired the right-wing party for 14 years.
Fifty per cent of the 116,000 Likud members reportedly cast their votes at the 106 polling stations set up across the country.
“Congratulations to the Prime Minister on his victory in the primaries,” Sa’ar wrote on Twitter, adding that he would “stand behind him in campaigning for the Likud’s success in the general elections.”
On his part, Netanyahu tweeted thanking Likud members for their “trust, support and love”, pledging that he would “god willing, lead Likud to a big victory in the coming elections.”
Netanyahu’s victory came despite the fact he is facing three corruption indictments. He has repeatedly insisted he is innocent, calling the investigations an “attempted coup”.
Israel is heading for its third election in one year period in March after two previous polls failed to bring about an outright winner and left the leading parties – Likud and Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) – unable to form coalition governments.