Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu declares victory in Likud party leadership race
Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory in a leadership primary in his right-wing Likud party, ensuring he will lead it into March elections. An hour after polls closed yesterday, Netanyahu announced his victory in a tweet and thanked his supporters. Around 57,000 Likud members cast their ballots across the country throughout yesterday.
Challenger Gideon Saar conceded defeat, saying he would now back Mr Netanyahu in March’s general election. Saar, a former minister seen as to the right of Netanyahu, tweeted after polls closed thanking his supporters, volunteers and voters. He announced his leadership challenge last month after Israel’s attorney general indicted Netanyahu for fraud, bribery and breach of trust.
Previous elections held in April and September saw Likud deadlocked with the centrist Blue and White party – with neither able to form a government.