In a primary election today for the leadership of the conservative Israeli Likud Party, in advance of another general election on March 2nd, Benjamin Netanyahu won a landslide victory over his party challenger.
The primary election saw 49% of all Likud party members show up to vote in spite of the stormy weather, a slight increase over the last time a primary election was held by the Likud. Of the nearly 60 thousand people that cast a ballot, 72.5% did so for the incumbent Netanyahu and 27.5% for his challenger Gideon Sa’ar.
Netanyahu’s win was expected, but the landslide proportions of it were not and thus the primary challenge itself had most assuredly worked to Netanyahu’s advantage. It reaffirmed his complete hold over the Likud party and gave him a reason to re-energize his base ahead of the March 2nd general election.
While the article touts the election victory as an indication that Likud’s position is strong in the coming election, I would not be so sure. This is the third general election in Israel in less than a year, all because the voters have refused to chose a clear leader. Though they have favored the conservative parties, those parties have not been able to form a government because one party refuses to join a coalition that includes the orthodox religious parties.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu faces a court fight, as he is under indictment and there is the possibility that the high court in Israel will rule that under those conditions he cannot form a government.
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