Sa'ar remains in place after Likud primary vote review finalized

Partial recount of primary votes after court order could change results of regional representatives.

February 13, 2019 22:01
2 minute read.
Likud Primaries voting booth

Likud Primaries voting booth. (photo credit: ARIK BENDER/MAARIV)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nemesis, former minister Gideon Sa’ar, remained in the fifth spot on the Likud list under the prime minister, following a reexamination of the votes in light of discrepancies.

Sa’ar looked like he was going to pass Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in last week’s primary after nearly all hand-counted votes were reentered into the Likud’s database on midnight Wednesday, but when the count was finalized, Erdan passed him by seven votes to retain his spot. This makes Erdan fourth on the Likud list, with Netanyahu at the helm.

Throughout the day, a retyping of Likud primary votes took place in Tel Aviv.

Rather than recounting all the votes, the hand-counted results from around the country were re-entered into the party’s computers, because discrepancies were found in comparing the hand-written forms to the computerized results.

At press time, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin moved up one spot on the list, bumping Aliyah and Integration Minister Yoav Gallant down one, but they both remained in the top 10. Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz jumped to 13th from 15th, and there were other, small shifts up to 20th place, with the same MKs likely to be staying in or out of the Knesset.

The overall amount of irregularities found was over 500 out of more than 69,000 votes on the national list.

Although there were reports that the Likud computers had been hacked during the counting, the retyping took place in a closed system that was not connected to the Internet at all.

On Thursday, the Likud began a recount of votes from its central committee, following an order from the party’s court after discrepancies were found. The process was not completed by press time, but no results had changed with most of the votes counted.

The 3,200 Likud central committee members voted on the regional representatives on the party’s list, four of whom are in spots with realistic chances of being members of the next Knesset.

The court ordered a full recount of those votes, after the previously released numbers featured more votes than central committee members.

A party source posited that the irregularities were a result of party members who are not on the central committee being mistakenly given forms to vote for the regional seats.

The focus on the regional recount was on the Tel Aviv spot, even though it is not in the top 30 seats that are likely to get into the Knesset, because Netanyahu endorsed David Sharan, his former chief of staff and a suspect in the Case 3000, the “submarines affair,” over Michal Shir, a former Sa’ar aide. Shir won the vote in the original count.

Two of the winning regional candidates are union organizers – Eti Attiya of Israel Aerospace Industries and Pinchas Idan of the Airports Authority Workers Committee – tied to Katz.

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