Netanyahu expected to defend Likud chair


Benjamin Netanyahu was seen as easily defending his place as Likud Party chairman in an internal election.

Results from Tuesday’s balloting were expected after nightfall.

Netanyahu, a former prime minister, is now Israeli opposition leader. His challengers for the Likud leadership – pro-settler activist Moshe Feiglin and World Likud chairman Danny Danon – are considered political newcomers. A more seasoned Netanyahu rival, former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, dropped out of the race.

The right-wing Likud’s prospects of sweeping the next general elections have been buoyed by security fears rattling Israel since last year’s Lebanon war. Recent polls regularly show Netanyahu as being more popular than Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

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