Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has vowed that he will fight to retain the leadership of his hawkish Likud party, despite a revolt led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I plan to...run the Likud, win and lead the Likud in elections, which will be held on schedule, in order to keep the Likud in power," Sharon told party members at his office here in Jerusalem. The hawkish Likud Central Committee will vote next week on whether to hold early elections for the party leadership as requested by Netanyahu, who wants to punish Sharon for dismantling 21 Gaza settlements and four more in Judea and Samaria. While many Likud members want to punish Sharon, they fear a leadership battle now could split the party and cause it to fall from power.
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