In the first open criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu by a Likud minister during the current campaign, Economy Minister Eli Cohen told Wednesday’s Maariv Business Conference in Herzliya that the prime minister was wrong to announce ahead of Monday’s election that Likud MK Nir Barkat would be his candidate for finance minister.“It is not right to make appointments before an election,” said Cohen, who joined the Likud from current finance minister Moshe Kahlon’s former party, Kulanu. “First we have to grab the good and only then divide it up. I decided against talking to the prime minister when I am fully devoted to bringing the Likud 300,000 right-wing voters who did not vote last time.” When Maariv business editor Yehuda Sharoni followed up by asking Cohen why Netanyahu announced Barkat’s appointment, Cohen said to ask him. He also declined to answer whether he himself covets the Finance portfolio.Sources close to Barkat declined to respond to Cohen.KAN reported on Tuesday night that in a stormy meeting with Likud ministers recently, Netanyahu threatened ministers who protested his decision to appoint Barkat.“It is in my authority to announce Barkat’s appointment,” he said. “Whoever isn’t good with that can resign.”Netanyahu made the appointment after Barkat showed him polls indicating that the Likud would rise in the polls as a result. At the time, the Likud was behind Blue and White by three seats. The latest Panels Politics poll that was broadcast on 103 FM on Wednesday morning found that the Likud had a two-seat lead over Blue and White.