I mentioned on yesterday's live broadcast from Jerusalem that we are entering the election year here in Israel and today is the Likud leadership election.
The Likud Party was formed by an alliance of several right wing parties back in the early 70's. The word means 'Consolidation', and Menachem Begin was the party's first leader.
There are several political parties here in Israel, and Likud is one of the largest and most influential. It is the political party of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, and part of his job is to lead his political party.
About 125,000 party members are expected to go to some 150 polling stations across the country. At the time of posting this, towards the end of the afternoon here, only 14% of the party people have cast their vote.
Mr. Netanyahu is expected to win. There is no real primary rival other than the extreme Right Wing candidate Moshe Feiglin who's power base is the settler movement.
Last election he garnered almost 24% of the vote. He is poised to make stronger gains, all be they inflated due to eligible voters not turning out.
The settler movement has been gravitating towards Likud for some time. It is part of Mr. Netanyahu's power base. His tough and nationalistic stances have traditionally been well received in settler circles.
But of late Mr. Netanyahu has expressed concerns over the growing influence of the Settlers in his Likud Party.
Mr. Feiglin has been gaining notarization, as he is a settler himself. And as trends in the Nation reflect a shifting to the political right, interest in his extreme views has gained media buzz and a wider political base.
However, one commentator here wrote today that neither candidate offers a bright future, and the fact is that Mr. Feiglin is younger, he may be in a position in time to come to seriously challenge for the Likud Leadership.
Earlier in the day his staff made the claim that there has been voting irregularities. Mr. Feiglin has announced a surprise speech for later this evening – a rallying cry I am sure for his supporters to get out and vote to greater increase his percentage in this primary election.
I'll have the details tomorrow on the Harvest Show – so be sure to join us!
Middle East Correspondent