Former MK intends to appeal Likud vote

Says results don't count, as only 29% of Likud central cmte. members voted.

moyal 88 (photo credit: )
moyal 88
(photo credit: )
Former Likud MK Akiva Nof announced on Tuesday that he would appeal Monday's vote in the Likud central committee that announced slots for newcomers on the party's Kneseet list. Nof said that the vote didn't count because only 29 percent of the 3,000 central committee members came out to vote, while a third of the members were necessary for a quorum. Nof said he would bring his appeal to the Likud's governing secretariat on Thursday and if, as expected, the secretariat rejected the appeal, he would go to the party's legal authorities. Nof is expected to have little chance of seating in the secretariat, a group that includes many candidates running for the Knesset in the Likud. "It's not even a legal question that the vote didn't count. If the Likud had a legal advisor, he probably wouldn't even have let the votes be counted," Nof said. Attorney Eitan Haberman, who had been the Likud legal advisor for 20 years, left the party for Kadima last month. The central committee's decision decreased the chances of Nof being elected to the Knesset. Polls published on Tuesday showed that while many of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz' supporters have endorsed Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom for chairmanship of the Likud, MK Binyamin Netanyahu was still comfortably in the lead. A Dahaf Institute poll in Yediot Aharonot Netanyahu in the lead over Shalom with 39% as opposed to Shalom's 29%. Among Likud members who said they "definitely" planned to vote, Netanyahu would receive 45% of the vote. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom would receive 30%, MK Moshe Feiglin 14%, and Yisrael Katz 4%. Maariv published a Teleseker poll that gave Netanyahu 35.3% of the vote, Shalom 22.5% Feiglin 11.8%, and Katz 2.5%. According to Teleseker, among Likud members who definitely planned to vote, Netanyahu would take 45.5% of the vote, Shalom 22%, Feiglin 15.5%, and Katz 2.7%. Netanyahu needs 40% of the Likud members' vote to avoid runoff race against Shalom. In a sign of desperation, the Likud central committee voted by a wide margin on Monday to advance positions on the Likud list reserved for first-time MKs. An embarrassingly low percentage of the central committee came out to vote at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. When the Likud was expected to receive 40 Knesset seats, 13 slots were reserved for newcomers, starting with the 25th position. Now that the polls are predicting that the party would be lucky to win 20 mandates, the central committee decided to reserve slots for rookies starting with the 19th slot. Slot number 19 will be reserved for a new candidate from Tel Aviv, the 20th will go to a woman, 21 to a newcomer from the coastal plain, 22 for the Dan region, 23 for a Druse, 24 another woman 25 Sharon region, 26 a resident of a regional council, 27 North, 28 Haifa, 29 a woman, 30 South, 31 Jerusalem, 32 for a resident of Judea or Samaria and 33 for a new immigrant. The decision means that the only realistic slots available to veteran MKs and ministers will be the first 18 on the list. The 26 remaining Likud MKs and former MKs like Natan Sharansky and Zalman Shoval will compete for those slots. Newcomers are also eligible to win one of the first 18 slots. The top newcomers running are Moshe Feiglin, Alfei Menashe mayor Hisdai Eliezer and Sderot mayor Eli Moyal, but a former general, such as former IDF OC Southern Command Yom-Tov Samia, could be brought into the party ahead of the January 3 race for the Likud's Knesset list. Moyal announced on Monday that he was running for Knesset with the Likud, even though he received offers to run with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Kadima party, Shinui, Meretz, Labor and the National Union. He said he decided to stay with the Likud because the party needed a boost. "The Likud needs sympathy because it's in bad condition," Moyal told The Jerusalem Post. "I didn't want to go to Kadima because Sharon hates democracy. All his people seem to be like sheep. I don't believe in fashionable parties. I wanted to run in my home party." Moyal had intended to endorse Mofaz in the Likud leadership primary before he quit the race and joined Kadima. Moyal said that after Mofaz's departure, he did not intend to officially endorse a candidate, but he made clear that he preferred Shalom, who tried to appoint him ambassador to France, over Netanyahu. "I am joining the Likud to prevent Netanyahu from enacting the same economic policies that he did before," Moyal said. "But if the party votes in Netanyahu, it's a democracy. If I was in the Knesset, I would have opposed Netanyahu's policies, but I am not a rebel." Shalom and Netanyahu have both expressed interest in changing the system for electing the Likud's MKs. Mofaz had crafted a plan for changing the system before he left the Likud.