Netanyahu votes in Likud primary 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud rival Moshe Feiglin
voted in their party primary Tuesday morning a short time after polls
Urging party activists to come out and vote, Netanyahu
warned that "If the inactive majority stays home, we get an inaccurate
picture" of what party activists want. "If everyone comes and votes, we
get a clear picture," he told reporters at the Binyanei Ha'uma
Conference Center in Jerusalem.
"I take every election
seriously," he said, expressing hope that the turnout would be closer to
100 percent than the 40 percent who voted in the previous primary.
Feiglin, who voted near his home in in Karnei Shomron said he was confident his supporters would come out to vote.
extra percent I get today beyond what I got before is an advancement of
the national camp," Feiglin said in an interview with Army Radio
At stake for Likud members across the country is the party leader and the makeup of the Likud central committee.
125,000 people, who have been Likud members for at least 16 months,
will be eligible to vote. More than 150 polling stations will remain
open nationwide until 10 p.m.
Results are not expected until
after midnight when the winner of the leadership race will call a press
conference at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.
Both Netanyahu and
Feiglin hope to exceed their totals from the last Likud election in
August 2007 when Netanyahu won 73.2 percent of the vote and Feiglin
Sources close to Netanyahu expressed concern Monday that
if the turnout in Tuesday’s race is not higher, it could artificially
inflate support for Feiglin, whose supporters may flock to polling
stations in large numbers.
They said they were worried about weather forecasts predicting rain in much of the country.
Netanyahu sent an automated message to thousands of Likud members urging them to come out to vote.
Feiglin’s team of volunteers are working to bring members of his Manhigut Yehudit organization to the polls.
group of Likud activists who have registered thousands of members
eligible to vote in the race have called for a boycott of the primary to
protest Netanyahu’s policies. The group hopes turnout will be less than
50% so they can call the election’s legitimacy into question.
Judea and Samaria branch’s chairman, Shevach Stern, who initiated the
boycott, said he won’t be going anywhere near polling stations.
“I will be going to work to support my family,” Stern said. “This is just a regular day for me.”