Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu easily won a vote to keep the Likud party helm, the party said on Friday. The result is seen as a boost ahead of what is likely to be a hard-fought general election in March, 2020.

Netanyahu received 72% of the votes in Thursday’s party ballot, against 28% for challenger Gideon Saar. Netanyahu’s rival conceded defeat, tweeting that he would now back the incumbent “for the sake of a Likud victory” in the general Israeli election.

The challenge by Saar, a former education and interior minister, added to pressures that have mounted this year on the four-term PM, who is under criminal indictment and is fighting for his political survival.

Thanking supporters for the Likud leadership victory, Netanyahu tweeted that he would continue leading the country “to unprecedented achievements.”

Only 50% of the Likud Party members submitted their vote.

RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2019.

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