Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has secured a resounding victory in the Likud party’s primary election, as shown by the vote’s official results that were published in national media on Friday.
His main opponent, former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, received only 27.5 percent, the Public Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The polling stations closed at 11:00 p.m. (20:00 GMT) on Thursday, with voter turnout reaching more than 49 percent.
Sa’ar, in his turn, congratulated Netanyahu on his victory in the party leadership race.
“My friends and I stand behind him in the campaign for Likud’s success in the [general] elections,” Sa’ar wrote on his Twitter.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu expressed gratitude to those who voted for him.
The primary took place amid a months-long political crisis in Israel. Following the April general election, Netanyahu failed to form a viable coalition. Another election in September saw Benny Gantz of the Blue and White alliance pull slightly ahead of the current prime minister but still fall short of a majority. As a result, the Israeli parliament dissolved itself over the crisis and set another snap election for 2 March.