Likud votes for Netanyahu to retain key powers in party

The decision aimed to take away the prime minister's powers to allocate party funds, appoint party officials and decide the terms of internal party posts.

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August 21, 2016 14:04
1 minute read.
Likud

A Likud polling station in December 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in persuading the Likud’s governing secretariat to cancel its controversial decision to take away key powers he has as leader, party officials said on Sunday.

The decision aimed to take away Netanyahu’s powers to allocate party funds, appoint party officials and decide the terms of internal party posts. The secretariat members, led by their chairman, Transportation Minister Israel Katz, voted last week to give those powers to themselves.

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The vote to cancel the proposal passed in a vote conducted by telephone on Saturday night and Sunday after Katz canceled a secretariat meeting set for Sunday night. The final vote count was 89 in favor, 10 against and one abstention.

After Netanyahu threatened to fire Katz from the cabinet, the prime minister and Katz decided to form a committee of Netanyahu’s lawyer David Shimron and coalition chairman David Bitan to negotiate new rules on how to manage the party and prevent the Likud’s funds from being misused.

“There will be transparency and oversight of Netanyahu in the new guidelines we will write for running the Likud,” Bitan promised on Sunday in an interview with the Knesset Channel.

But Bitan’s reassurances did not comfort those who voted against the proposal. Secretariat member Natan Engelsman said the telephone vote was illegal because the Likud constitution required a debate on the proposal before the vote.

A group of secretariat members appealed the results to an internal Likud court, complaining that there was no reliable oversight over the vote.

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“There is no way those numbers, which sound like the glory days of Syria, can possibly be real,” Engelsman said “But dictators cannot keep on winning forever.”

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