The victory is a coup for Sharon, who has proven time and again that he is a political survivor. He outmaneuvered his hawkish opponents and evacuated Jewish settlers from Gaza. And even though he went against the wishes of his own party, he managed to get a vote of confidence. While the Likud wants revenge for the Gaza pullout, it also fears a split that would topple the party from power. Sharon had threatened to leave the Likud and form a moderate “centrist” party that would have enjoyed wide support among the public.
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