Netanyahu retains Likud chair

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was victorious in the race to chair the Likud Party, with his only challenger garnering about 24 percent of the vote.

Netanyahu won about 75 percent of the vote in the Jan. 31 polling, about the same percentage as the last race in 2007. This week’s vote had a low turnout of the eligible 130,000 party members. It is Netanyahu’s fifth victory in 18 years.

Netanyahu was challenged by hard-liner Moshe Feiglin of the Jewish Leadership faction of the party.

Several polling stations in the West Bank, where Feiglin is a resident and was expected to poll well, sent voters home after not receiving the necessary materials, according to complaints from the Feiglin camp. Polling places in some communities were allowed to stay open up to two hours after the scheduled 10 p.m. closing due to the problems and low voter turnout.

National elections are not scheduled for at least a year. — jta