TV exit polls showed former Prime Minister &to=http://english.pravda.ru/world/2002/12/23/41202.html' target=_blank>Benjamin Netanyahu scoring a wide victory in Likud Party primary elections to run against Ariel Sharon as candidate for prime minister in March elections.
Exit polls from all three Israeli TV stations showed Netanyahu receiving 47 percent of the vote, while Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom got 32 percent, right-wing extremist Moshe Feiglin 15 percent and Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz 6 percent.
Netanyahu, a strident hardliner who quit Sharon's government in protest over his pullout from Gaza and the West Bank in the summer, was expected to lead Likud into the most hawkish camp of the Israeli political spectrum, leaving the center for Sharon's new party, Kadima. Polls taken before the Likud primary show the party taking a severe beating in the March 28 election.
The exit polls questioned 599 Likud voters and quoted margins of error of 4.5 percent, the TV stations reported.