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Netanyahu declares victory in Likud party primary

(Xinhua)

13:46, February 01, 2012

JERUSALEM, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory in the Likud party primary on early Wednesday, shortly after polls closed.

"Today the real Likud won. We proved that our strength is in our unity. We will continue to lead responsibly for better education, economy, and security for all the citizens of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said at an assembly of supporters in Jerusalem, adding that "Likud turns Israel into one of the most developed nations in the world, in education, culture, and environmental protection."

"We are facing great challenges that no other country faces, and I believe that together we shall overcome them, through the Likud," the prime minister concluded.

According to initial results, Netanyahu won 73 percent of the vote over his sole rival, Moshe Feiglin, in Tuesday's Likud primary.

Netanyahu was expected to deliver a victory speech at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds later. It was the fifth time for him to win the Likud leadership.

About half of the Likud's 125,000 eligible voters went to the polls across the country, exceeding the 40-percent turnout in the last Likud primary in 2007.

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