Netanyahu Says He Defeated Likud Challenger

Prime minister predicts another victory in upcoming elections
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2019 5:55 PM CST
Netanyahu Claims Victory in Primary, Promises Another
People look at a poster of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a voting center in the northern Israeli city of Hadera on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The official result won't be released before Friday morning, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he won his Likud Party primary Thursday. "A huge win! With God's and your help, I will lead the Likud to a big victory in the upcoming elections," Netanyahu tweeted after the polls closed. In Gideon Saar, who's served as interior and education minister, Netanyahu faced his first serious challenge from within the party, the
Wall Street Journal reports. Saar argued that the party needed new leadership to win enough support in the upcoming election to form a government; Netanyahu has failed to do that twice in 2019. Saar did not concede Thursday night but tweeted to his supporters that they'd shown "faith, courage and determination."

Although he was the favorite in the primary, Netanyahu—facing trial on bribery and corruption charges—took no chances. He campaigned hard, per the BBC, and took to Facebook Live on Thursday after reports of low turnout to get out the vote. The party said about 49% of eligible voters turned out, which is much lower than usual. (A rocket interrupted Netanyahu's appearance at a rally Wednesday.)

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