“Huge victory!” Israel’s Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted after securing 72.5% of internal party leadership votes as opposed to his challenger Gideon Saar, who polled 27.5%.
“Thank you Likud members for the vote of confidence, support and love. God willing and with your help, I will lead the Likud to a great victory in the upcoming elections and will continue to lead the state of Israel to unprecedented achievements,” he tweeted.
Mr. Saar, a 53-year-old former minister in Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinets, conceded defeat, saying he would now back Mr. Netanyahu in a general election due in March.
The internal party vote was a test of Mr. Netanyahu’s hold on power at a time of mounting difficulties.
Mr. Netanyahu, 70, faces trial on bribery and corruption charges as well as a third national election within a year.
Previous elections held in April and September saw Likud deadlocked with the centrist Blue and White party – with neither able to form a government.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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