Benjamin Netanyahu gestures at an election campaign. File photo
Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a “huge” victory on Friday, after winning a leadership primary that ensures he will lead his right-wing Likud party into a March general election.
Israel’s longest-serving premier, who faces a corruption indictment and a third general election in 12 months, was expected to beat rival Gideon Saar but the convincing margin of victory strengthened his position in the party he has dominated for 20 years.
With all votes counted, the Likud announced that Netanyahu had secured 72.5 per cent, with Saar winning 27.5 per cent.
The left-wing Haaretz newspaper described it as a battle between the “rational expediency” of Saar supporters and the “tribal loyalty” of the Netanyahu camp.
It noted the historic reluctance of Likud members to depose a sitting leader.
Opinion polls conducted in Israel late last week revealed that former Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners will gain 60 seats in the 120 member Knesset, just one short of a majority. The “centrist and leftist parties in the current government are set to secure 56 seats while the parties representing Israel’s Palestinian citizens will receive four seats.
The victory of Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud in the Sunday election raises many questions about Israel, about Palestine, and about Middle East in general. Netanyahu is a complex and controversial Israeli politician who seems to come back time and again and given Israel’s mind-boggling coalition politics he seems to manage
Israel could pay a high price if its longest serving prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, succeeds in forming a new government which includes the extreme right-wing Jewish Power and Religious Zionism Parties. Both have been given ministries which could define Israel in future years.
Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikhs and guests of the country witnessed on Sunday the “Union March”, which was organised by the Presidential Office and launched as part of the activities of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival for 2023 in Al Wathba area in Abu Dhabi.
At least 26 people were injured — including a local cleric — and transferred to hospitals. Police helped reroute traffic in the area after condoning off the site, officials said. The interior minister of Gilgit-Baltistan called the incident an "act of terrorism.”
Modi thanked voters for "their unwavering support” in the states where his party was leading. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, conceded defeat in the three states where his party was trailing.