Netanyahu’s Huge Victory for Likud Party leadership Despite Bribery Charges

Israel’s incumbent Prime Minister (PM), Benjamin Netanyahu won the election for choosing the leadership of the Likud (also known as National Liberal Movement) party. Netanyahu and Gideon Saar contested for the leadership position of the party in the election, which was conducted on Thursday, December 26, 2019. The result of the election was announced early on Friday today, Netanyahu won the election with an impressive victory despite several corruption cases had been pending against him.

Result of the Election

The internal party poll started across the country at 9 am (0700 GMT) and ended at 11 pm with nearly 116,000 members were eligible for the vote. According to a media, “50% of the eligible members only voted due to roaring winds, heavy rain and the Jewish festival of Hanukkah by early evening.”

As per the results announced early on December 27, 2019, Netanyahu secured 72.5% and his opposition candidate, Saar received 27.5% of the total voting. The incumbent PM, who has been leading the Likud party for the past 14 years, will be contesting the national general election which is due in March 2020.

According to a source, Saar admitted his defeat in the election and would back Netanyahu in the 2020 election. Before the result was officially declared, the PM tweeted, ‘A giant victory’ and continued, “Thanks to the members of Likud for the trust, support, and love. God willing, I will lead Likud to a big victory in the coming elections and will continue to lead the state of Israel to unprecedented achievements.”

After the PM failed to secure a majority in the two previous elections for the party which was held in April and September 2019, it was expected to many analysts that Saar could lead the party after the election. Despite the existing fraudulent charges against the PM, the massive victory of Netanyahu was due to one main reason. Many people supported Netanyahu’s policy after, the US president, Donald Trump agreed to open an embassy in Jerusalem. Though the move was opposed by Palestine, it was celebrated as a diplomatic triumph for Netanyahu in Israel.

Nationalistic Inspiration for the Big Win

The Guardian conducted voters’ views on the poll at many polling stations around Jerusalem about the choice of the candidates. As reported by the Guardian, Tommy Levi, a 67-year-old taxi driver who has been a Likud member for 40 years, said he would vote for “Bibi”, the nickname of the PM.

Levi stated, “Bibi did things for Likud members that no one else was able to do.” Referring to Trump’s decision. When the Guardian asked Yaron Rochin, a 68-year-old Saar volunteer, he admitted that most of the voters appeared to be Netanyahu supporters. He asserted, “I hope towards midday or in the evening more Saar supporters will come, if not here then in the rest of the country.”

The Guardian reported that the huge victory of Netanyahu was because of his unique campaign style which focused mainly around the nationalistic theme. While Saar was focusing on attacking Netanyahu’s bribery and fraud charges, Saar mostly ignored such sensitive appeals to the voters.

According to an analyst, comparing with Netanyahu’s ‘more energizing, media-savvy style’, Saar failed to inspire many voters as much as Netanyahu’s nationalistic inspiration. Rochin, a Saar volunteer, expressed that he did not believe the charge against the PM and while he supported Saar, he was “not against Bibi.”

Hello, I’m Anna Yeo. If you like my news coverage, please drop a good word in my inbox. I’m journalist by profession and have been part of many major reporting across the globe. I like to write crisp and factual news. I have completed my masters degree in journalism. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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