Netanyahu wins Likud primary

Turnout high despite rain

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1 Feb 2012
Netanyahu wins Likud primary

Israel’s democracy was on display Tuesday as the Likud party primary ended with a solid victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who declared victory in the chairman’s race late Tuesday evening and thanked everyone who had voted. "Today the real Likud won,” Netanyahu told supporters at the Tel Aviv fairgrounds. “We proved that our strength is in our unity. We will continue to lead responsibly for better education, economy, and security for all the citizens of the State of Israel. Likud turns Israel into one of the most developed nations in the world, in education, culture, and environmental protection." Netanyahu also declared that there is no rush for a new round of general elections, defying the expectations and hopes of many opposition parties.

Netanyahu’s rival in the race for party chairman, Moshe Feiglin, conceded his loss on Wednesday morning while declaring that his candidacy had proven an important point about the essential “Jewish, national and proud” nature of the party and the widespread support for “settlement in the entirety of the land” of Israel.

Although there were problems reported at various polling stations the elections were relatively hassle free, with supporters of the two main candidates for the most part maintaining civility and nearly 50% of eligible voters turning out, despite rainy weather.

Aside from the chairmanship, both candidates supporters endorsed an identical slate of candidates for the Likud central committee.

“The agreement was a good idea, because it ended tension in the Likud branch in Jerusalem,” said Elisha Peleg, the only Likud member on Jerusalem’s city council. “But I know that the agreement decreased the motivation a lot of people had to vote because both races were already decided.”


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