Likud begins recount of primary votes

PM Netanyahu orders recount after reports candidates earned more votes at polling stations than there were voters.


Ballots for 2015 elections
Ballots for 2015 elections
Isaac Harari/Flash90

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party on Tuesday began recounting the votes of its recent primaries after reported discrepancies emerged, a party spokesman said.

The ruling rightwing party last week held the primaries among its members to determine the composition of its list in the April 9 general vote.

Netanyahu, whose first place had been ensured in a previous campaign, did not participate as a candidate.
The recount was ordered by Netanyahu after reports emerged showing that some candidates had received more votes in certain polling stations than the number of voters registered in those areas.

Netanyahu on Monday said "a new electronic count of the votes to ensure the accuracy of the results" was necessary, Likud spokesman Jonatan Urich told AFP.

The audit, which began Tuesday, should be completed next week, Urich said, but was "not expected to fundamentally change the results".
Opinion polls indicate that Netanyahu's Likud would remain the largest party in parliament after the upcoming election.

Analysts say the primaries have shown that Netanyahu's power within the party is not without limits, as evident in the success of Gideon Sa'ar, a popular politician and former interior minister who landed the fourth place despite the premier's efforts to harm his standings.

Saar left active political life in 2014 but has made a comeback in recent weeks.

Netanyahu's campaign is marred by the potential corruption charges he faces, with media reports suggesting the attorney general might begin legal proceedings against him before the April vote.