Meretz filed a request with the Central Elections Committee on Monday demanding that it block the candidacy of former MK Idit Silman, who is No. 16 on the Likud’s Knesset list, in the upcoming election.
Silman entered the previous Knesset as a member of Yamina, and then announced in April that she was leaving the coalition, ending its 61-member majority.
Meretz accused Silman of leaving the coalition after receiving offers from the Likud for the next election, which is illegal according to the election laws.
“This is an abrasive violation of the law by the Likud and by Silman,” Meretz said in a statement. “[Opposition leader Benjamin] Netanyahu continues to ignore Israel’s laws. On top of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, we can now add a breach of election laws.”
"This is an abrasive violation of the law by the Likud and by Silman.”Meretz statement
In its petition to the committee, Meretz said Silman had met with Netanyahu in the middle of the night and decided to leave the coalition by the morning.
Although the content of the meeting was unknown, Meretz wrote, “All of the signs point clearly to an agreement or promise made to Silman as the basis for the announcement, which came just a few hours later.
People in the know spoke about a promise given in that late-night meeting, which directly violates the law. They also spoke about a similar promise to [former] MK Amichai Chikli in exchange for his resignation [from the coalition], though there is no record of a meeting between him and Netanyahu.”
Meretz quoted Likud MKs Yoav Gallant and Gila Gamliel, who said in television interviews that Silman’s leaving the coalition was connected to her insertion into the Likud list.
Yisrael Beytenu attempt to block Balad MK Sami Abou Shahadeh from running
On Sunday, Yisrael Beytenu circulated a document requesting members of the Central Elections Committee to sign off on a request to block Balad MK Sami Abou Shahadeh from running in the election, on the grounds that he did not support Israel’s character as a Jewish state. However, no other MKs joined the request. Hadash-Ta’al and Meretz said they opposed the initiative to block Abou Shahadeh, and Labor said it would wait for a legal opinion.
“Balad should not be barred from running,” Meretz MK Mossi Raz wrote on Twitter. “It is a legitimate movement that was already approved [to run] a number of times in the High Court of Justice. Labor should join this position and not hide behind legal advisers.”
The right-wing opposition parties did not join the request either. They are expected to file requests to block all three Arab parties.
A request to disqualify a candidate based on his platform must be endorsed by one-third of the Central Elections Committee, which has 10 members. Yisrael Beytenu therefore dropped the initiative.
“Sami Abou Shahadeh is an existential danger to the State of Israel,” said Yisrael Beytenu MK Limor Magen-Telem, who is a member of the Central Elections Committee. “We will do everything so that there will not be people in the Knesset who do not recognize Israel as being Jewish and democratic and act to change its national symbols. We warmly propose that he run in the election in Ramallah.”
Section 7A of Basic Law
Section 7A of Basic Law: The Knesset stipulates that “a candidate list may not participate in elections to the Knesset, and an individual may not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the goals or actions of the list or the actions of the person, explicitly or by implication, include one of the following: (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; (2) incitement to racism; (3) support for armed struggle by a hostile state or by a terrorist organization against the State of Israel.”
The Central Elections Committee may decide by majority vote to disqualify a list or a candidate. Any individual or group may petition the committee to disqualify a list.
However, the committee is a political entity, with factions included in it that are represented in proportion to the number of seats they hold in the outgoing Knesset.
Hence, although the committee is chaired by a Supreme Court justice, its decision to disqualify an individual candidate must be confirmed by the High Court, and a decision to disqualify or not disqualify a list may be appealed to the court.
Parties may hand in requests to block other individuals or parties from running in the election up to a week after they hand in their Knesset lists. Therefore, requests may be made until September 21 or 22, depending on whether the party or individual handed in its lists on September 14 or 15.