World Citizen: Primary Vote Shocks Likud Leaders

World Citizen: Primary Vote Shocks Likud Leaders

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chances of returning to power in Israel received an unexpected and potentially devastating blow following Tuesday's primary vote by members of his party. Likud voters watered down their party leader's entire electoral strategy, thus reviving the chances that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her Kadima party will have another opportunity to form a government.

The conventional wisdom -- and what all opinion polls still predict -- is that Netanyahu will become Israel's new prime minister after next February's election. And yet, conventional wisdom is often wrong, and this may well prove one of those times.

Netanyahu has spent months carefully constructing the road back to power by making the right-of-center Likud a viable home for centrist Israelis. Now, however, after one day of internal voting, the right wing of Likud has sent a message to moderate Israelis that they had better look elsewhere. If they want a government that will look after their security while working for pragmatic solutions to the country's tough problems, they won't find it in the Likud chosen by the primary. For voters confused about which way to turn, Kadima is going to look increasingly inviting.

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