Final Likud Results: Sa’ar Gets More Votes, But List Remains the Same

Gideon Sa’ar speaks with the media outside the Tel Aviv Likud polling station on Feb. 5. (Flash90)

After a few road bumps, the results of the Likud primary have been finalized – and despite the mini-uproar over miscounted votes, a new tabulation of the results showed that the order of candidates on the list will remain unchanged.

The retabulation was ordered by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday after reports of incorrect tallies in numerous polling places. While stopping short of a recount, the retabulation involved checking the results of different polling places and recalculating the vote totals for candidates.

A report on Hadashot News Sunday claimed that there were “significant inconsistencies” between the results of the balloting and the actual ballot record. For example, the report said, in the town of Mitzpe Yericho the Likud has 153 registered members, but MK Ofir Akunis got 229 votes there. In Bnei Brak 334 Likud members voted, but Culture and Sport Miri Regev got 436 votes there. In Kiryat Malachi, party records show 516 members, but MK Yoav Galant got 780 votes there. As a result, the Likud’s chief counsel, Shai Galili, demanded a formal recount of the results. In a letter to party officials, he said that he could “find no explanation for these radical inconsistencies between the ‘actual’ results and the numbers on record regarding the candidates. It’s possible the whole issue is a computer problem, but it’s also possible this was done on purpose.”

Among the reasons the party would want to “fudge” the results, the report said, was Netanyahu’s desire to quash the electoral prospects of Gideon Sa’ar, whom he has accused of working against his leadership of the Likud. The retabulation actually added several thousand votes to Sa’ar’s totals – but it was not enough to put him over the numbers accrued by Gilad Erdan – who beat out Sa’ar by just seven votes.

The top vote-getter remained Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who bested the number two on the list, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, by over 1,000 votes. Katz is followed by Erdan, Sa’ar, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, Transportation Minister Yariv Levin, former Kulanu MK Yoav Galant, former Yerushalayim Mayor Nir Barkat, Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel, and MK Avi Dichter. Also benefiting is Communication Minister Ayoub Kara, who was in the 32nd slot before the new tabulation, and is now 24th on the list.