Elections 2022: Amichai Chikli disqualified from running on Likud list

Amichai Chikli's candidacy was barred after MK Gaby Lasky petitioned the Central Election Committee, claiming that he did not resign early enough to be allowed to run on a different list.

 AMICHAI CHIKLI: Chose the long short path. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
AMICHAI CHIKLI: Chose the long short path.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Former MK Amichai Chikli of Yamina cannot run in the upcoming election as part of the Likud list, Central Election Committee (CEC) head and High Court justice Yizhak Amit ruled on Wednesday.

Chikli's candidacy was barred after Meretz MK Gaby Lasky petitioned the CEC, claiming that Chikli did not resign early enough to be allowed to run on a different list than the one he was on for the previous Knesset.

Israel's election laws stipulate that if an MK is designated as a "seceder" from his or her party by the Knesset Home Committee, they must resign immediately in order to be allowed to run in the next election as part of an existing party.

The law exists in order to block a scenario in which an MK votes against his party's agenda in exchange for being reserved a spot in a different party in the following election. By resigning immediately, the "deserter" indicates that his choice to go against his party was purely ideologically based.

Chikli was designated a "seceder"

New Knesset member Amichai Chikli  seen at the Knesset , ahead of the opening Knesset session of the new government, on April 05, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)New Knesset member Amichai Chikli seen at the Knesset , ahead of the opening Knesset session of the new government, on April 05, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Chikli was designated a "deserter" on April 25. On June 13, He appealed the decision to the Jerusalem District court. On July 10, the court ruled that if he resigns within the next four days that would count as an "immediate" resignation. The court stressed, however, that the final decision on whether or not Chikli would be able to run on the Likud list would be up to the CEC head.

However, even though Chikli handed in his resignation two days later based on the agreement with the district court, Amit's decision effectively overturned the district court's ruling. Amit explained in the ruling that this was because Chikli only appealed his designation as a deserter nearly 50 days after the fact, and his conduct during that period and since the formation of the government showed that he had clearly broke ideologically with his party, and thus had ample time to step down as required by law.

Chikli was chosen as the first pick out of the five awarded to Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and was placed in the number 14 spot.

A similar appeal against MK Idit Silman, also of Yamina, was dismissed since she was not officially deemed a "seceder" by the Knesset Home Committee. A different, criminal petition was filed directly to the High Court of Justice claiming that she violated the election laws by also accepting a spot on the Likud list in exchange for her leaving the coalition. The High Court has yet to decide on that appeal.

"The Likud views the decision as absurd and as causing serious harm to democracy. We will appeal the decision in the High Court of Justice," the Likud said in a statement.

Meretz, however, applauded the decision, calling it a "great achievement."

"We will continue to safeguard the purity of the election and be the watchdog against political corruption," the party said.