At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning in Israel, 113 polling stations were opened throughout the country, and approximately 120,000 members of the Likud were eligible to vote and in order to choose the party’s list for the elections for the 21st Knesset, that is scheduled for April.
142 candidates competed for realistic seats on the Likud list, including 30 current Knesset members and ministers who will fight for a place on the national list. It is estimated that between eight and ten current Knesset members will not be placed in realistic spots on the list for the next Knesset.
The polling stations closed at 10:00 p.m. The ballots were counted in the voting centers and then transferred to the primary war room that was established in Kfar Maccabiah. As the counting was done manually, the official and final results will likely not be published until Wednesday morning.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published a video in advance of the primaries in the Likud, calling on the members of the party to approve his proposal to reserve three spots on the Knesset list – 21, 28 and 36 – for candidates of his choice.
“The connections on the left endanger us,” Netanyahu said in the video. “The proposal will increase our chances of winning. I am asking you to reserve three candidates in lower spots on the list in order to assure the Likud the ability to deal with the connections between the leftist parties. It is important that the Likud form the next government.”
69,719 Likud members voted in the primaries, making up 58 percent of those eligible to vote.
The results of the primaries are starting to be received by the campaign room set up by the Likud administration in Kfar Maccabiah in Ramat Gan.
Voters were asked to mark 12 candidates on the voting ballot for the national list, as well as to mark five candidates in the various districts of the party.
The primaries took place in the wake of the ongoing conflict between Prime Minister Netanyahu and former minister Gideon Sa’ar, who ran for office on the national list.
At a joint press conference held by Prime Minister Netanyahu with the Austrian president, he was asked about the accusations he recently made about Sa’ar and made it clear that he stands behind them.
“I do not take back even one syllable from what I said about Gideon Sa’ar,” Netanyahu said in response to Sa’ar’s claims that Netanyahu was making up stories about him.
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