The embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed a “giant victory” after capturing 72% of votes in a primary election for leadership of the ruling Likud party.
Despite bribery and corruption indictments recently, Netanyahu still got a total of 41,792 votes while opponent Gideon Saar conceded defeat with only 15,885 votes equivalent to 28%.
The prime minister who heads Likud for almost 15 years now maintained his position in the rightwing party’s leadership.
Having close ties with famous world leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu was able to foster an image as a veteran statesman.
But reports said that the preceding April and September races had Likud deadlocked with its major rival, the centrist Blue and White party, that are both incapable of securing a parliamentary majority and forming a government.
Israel’s longest serving leader Netanyahu appeared invigorated in the past weeks to campaign online and through assemblies, appealing for members to cast their votes.
Confident enough to win, the PM expressed his gratitude to the Likud members for their trust, support and love just an hour after the polls closed.
“With God and with your help, I will lead the Likud to a big victory in the upcoming elections and continue to lead the State of Israel to unprecedented achievements,” he added.
Meanwhile, the defeated former minister Saar has vowed that he and his colleagues “will stand behind [Netanyahu] in campaigning for the Likud’s success in the general elections.”