Netanyahu Rival Challenges Official Likud Primary Results

In letter to party's elections committee, Moshe Feiglin alleges figures released by Likud include significant discrepancies from data culled by his activists.

Moshe Feiglin, the far-right Likud activist who competed against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, challenged the elections' official results on Thursday, saying that released figures do not correspond with voting on the ground.

Netanyahu won the party's primary held on Tuesday, garnering 77 percent of the vote, with rival Feiglin receiving the remaining 23.

Moshe Feiglin - Emil Salman - 02022012
Emil Salman

The results followed a tense day of voting on Tuesday, characterized by a much lower voter turnout than Netanyahu had hoped or expected, prompting the premier to organize an impromptu press conference to urge voters to arrive at the nationwide polling stations.

However, on Thursday the head of Feiglin's organization, Shai Malka, demanded that the Likud elections committee publish the results as they were documented in individual polling stations in addition to the already published general tally.

Malka claimed that a closer look at these individual figures reveals they do not comply with the party's official data, saying that, "at this point, [the Feiglin camp is] not accepting the election's results as they were published and [demands] to receive all the relevant information immediately and through the proper channels."

The Feiglin aide also said that, "by publishing vote tallies according to party branches as opposed to by polling stations, Likud was preventing a checkup of results."

While the far-right leader does contest that he received only 23 percent of the vote, he did not, however, deny that Netanyahu was the election's clear victor.

One example given to a perceived discrepancy between official results and data collected by Feiglin activists was the town of Beit Shemesh, where the official results counts 126 votes for Feiglin and 77 for Netanyahu.

However, Feiglin's camp claims that their observers counted 289 votes for Feiglin and 114 for Netanyahu. "This is an insufferable gap, and one with consequences," Malka said, adding that the similar gaps were revealed elsewhere.

Another potentially troubling report came from Beit She’an, where an official tally reported 1074 voters, 1030 for Netanyahu and 44 for Feiglin, when the town only has 834 registered Likud voters.

Likud said in response to Feiglin's claims that the party's oversight panel will look into any appeal of the election's results, adding that an official request has yet to be submitted.