Demoted Likud candidates go to Tel Aviv court

Ratzon and Admasu head to Tel Aviv District Court to protest party's move to push them to bottom of list.

michael ratzon smiling  248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
michael ratzon smiling 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former Likud MK Michael Ratzon plans to petition the Tel Aviv District Court against the party's decision to push him from the 24th to the 37th slot in the Knesset list. Likud's internal court decided late Thursday night to reject the appeal of Ratzon, who was demoted 10 days ago, along with former MK Ehud Yatom and far-right activist Moshe Feiglin, to slots 36-38 on the party's list, from the more realistic 24th, 29th and 20th slots, respectively. The Likud court affirmed the decision made by the party's election committee, which on December 11, three days after the party primary, had determined there was no reason to reserve slots for women in the first 20 slots on the party's list. The reason given was that four women - former MK Leah Nass, MK Limor Livnat, Tzipi Hotovely and former MK Gila Gamliel - had won enough votes to place in the top 20 outright. The committee's decision to cancel the slots reserved for women promoted the entire block of slots reserved for sectors and districts, and pushed down several candidates who ran on the national list to slots 36 and further. This decision pushed Feiglin from the 20th to the 36th slot, as Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu wanted. In his appeal, Ratzon claimed that the internal court was not entitled to decide in his case once the election committee had signed the primary results, as the party's regulations state. In addition, Ratzon claimed that the fact that a hearing on his appeal was set for late on Thursday night and whose results were published at 2 a.m. on Friday morning indicated an attempt to "bury" the issue. Ratzon said Friday that he would petition the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday and promised that if that did not help, he would go all the way to the High Court of Justice. "The inadequate and undemocratic conduct by Likud's election committee has caused the Likud's deterioration in the polls... To bring back the voters and to save the democratic norm in the Likud, we must change things back to the way they were on the night of the party's primary," Ratzon said. Unlike Ratzon, Feiglin chose not to appeal, but said he would return to the 20th slot on the list if Ratzon's appeal were successful. Ethiopian-born candidate Aleli Admasu also plans to appeal Sunday to the Tel Aviv District Court against the election committee's decision to remove him from the 30th slot reserved for an immigrant because he made aliya in 1983, two years before the year established by the committee as the earliest for a candidate to be considered an immigrant. Admasu said he would appeal in an effort to return him to the list in place of Russian-born businessman Vladimir Shklar, who received almost 2,000 votes fewer than Admasu but took his place on the list on Wednesday, or MK Ze'ev Elkin, whom Admasu believes should not have been allowed to run for an immigrant slot that should have been reserved for a candidate who never served in the Knesset. Ethiopian supporters of Admasu plan a mass demonstration outside the Likud's Tel Aviv headquarters this week. It was also suggested on Friday that an appeal against reserving the 22nd slot in Kadima's Knesset list for a female candidate was due to be filed, following a similar situation in which five Kadima women made it to the party's first 20 slots in last week's primary. However, Kadima officials said Saturday night no such appeal had filed, and even if it would be the rules of the game would not be changed retroactively.