Israel's Likud has history of bitter struggles

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Israel's ruling Likud party, which faces a leadership showdown between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and longtime rival Benjamin Netanyahu over the timing of party primaries, has a history of acrimonious power struggles.

1986 - Chaotic party convention breaks up in fistfights during a power struggle between then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Sharon and David Levy.

1990 - Leading the Likud hawks, Sharon seizes microphone to shout down Shamir at a rancorous party convention, protesting at a plan to allow Palestinians to hold elections.

1992 - Ferocious power struggle leaves Shamir at the helm after beating back challenges from Sharon and Levy. But turmoil is blamed for weakening Likud, which loses election to Labour.

1993 - Netanyahu topples Shamir after campaign in which Netanyahu goes on television to admit an extramarital affair and accuse rivals of plotting to taint him with scandal.

1998 - Hardline Likud rebels force Netanyahu to call snap election over an interim peace deal to give Palestinians control over more West Bank land. Netanyahu loses the election.

2002 - Sharon defeats leadership challenge from then-foreign minister Netanyahu in primary after calling a snap election following the collapse of a previous ruling coalition.

2004 - Likud delivers embarrassing blows to Sharon by first rejecting his proposal to abandon the occupied Gaza Strip and then pressuring him to hold a national referendum.

He pushes ahead regardless and the withdrawal of troops is completed in September 2005 after the evacuation of settlers.

2005 - Netanyahu and Sharon engage in public name-calling campaign on national television and radio in the run-up to Monday's Likud vote on a bid by Netanyahu to topple Sharon as party leader by advancing a leadership primary to November.

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