Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu has won the Likud Party primaries with 72.5 percent of the votes, the results of the exit polls showed on Friday.
Earlier exit polls showed Netanyahu was winning the primaries by a landslide with 71.52 percent of the votes, while his political rival Gideon Saar gained only 28.48 percent at that moment.
אחרי הדיוק המושלם במדגם הבחירות לראשות מפלגת העבודה בשנה האחרונה, נכנסים שוב לשדה המוקשים המפלגתי, והפעם עם מדגם הבחירות לראשות תנועת הליכוד, עם 758 נדגמים ייחודיים וסטיית תקן של 3.2%.— Direct Polls (@Direct_Polls) December 26, 2019
המדגם נכון לשעה 22:00. להלן התוצאות שלנו >>>@netanyahu @gidonsaar pic.twitter.com/WFLTPwO6o1
Following the results of the early exit polls, Netanyahu took to Twitter to promise to lead his party to victory in the upcoming 2020 election.
ניצחון ענק! תודה לחברות וחברי הליכוד על האמון, התמיכה והאהבה. בעזרת השם ובעזרתכם, אני אוביל את הליכוד לניצחון גדול בבחירות הקרובות ונמשיך להוביל את מדינת ישראל להישגים חסרי תקדים.— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) December 26, 2019
Saar, who challenged the premier's leadership on Friday primaries, is more hawkish on Palestinian issues, as he rejects a two-state solution, opting for a deal involving Jordan instead. Netanyahu is known as "Mr Security" and the man who transformed the Israeli economy.
It was the first Likud primaries in five years.
Netanyahu has been in the midst of a political crisis lately after he failed to secure a Likud party majority in the Knesset in two recent elections, while he also didn't succeed both times in negotiating a broader coalition with the opposition.
In April, Netanyahu's party won the poll but fell short of obtaining the majority needed to form a government. In the second election held in September, the Likud Party also failed to secure a majority in the Knesset.
The new snap general election is scheduled for March 2020 and will become the third parliamentary election in less than a year - an unprecedented case in the political history of Israel.
The Israeli premier has also been indicted on three charges - bribery, breach of trust and fraud, which Netanyahu has repeatedly dismissed as an "attempted coup" to take power from him. His wife Sara is also facing charges of corruption.