Green Leaf party fuming over Blich ballot exclusion

Two candidates arrested trying to enter Blich High School in Ramat Gan.

marijuana leaf 88 (photo credit: )
marijuana leaf 88
(photo credit: )
Two parliamentary candidates for the Green Leaf party, which advocates the legalization of marijuana, were arrested Monday after trying to enter a high school to protest its exclusion from an upcoming mock election, police said. Blich High School in Ramat Gan has been holding mock elections since 1969 and has earned a reputation as an indicator of which way the electorate is going to vote. Blich will hold its vote next Monday and will include ballot slips for eight of the 32 parties registered for March 28 general elections, said Ramat Gan municipality spokesman Memi Peer, who oversees the event. Green Leaf is not among the chosen parties. The party has come up short in two previous parliament bids, barely missing out on a seat in the Knesset in 2003, when it won 38,000 votes, just 7,000 short of getting a seat. Pollsters say the party is again on the cusp of making it into the Knesset. The party, which is popular among young Israelis, would have likely made a strong showing at Blich, and its members had complained they were being slighted by being excluded from the closely watched vote. Peer said an advisory committee of students, teachers and parents came up with the list of the eight parties. He said the mock elections were an exercise in democracy and the school was not involved in the media circus and political jockeying surrounding it. Shlomi Sendak, a legislative candidate from the party, said they were told the school didn't "think that a party that encourages drug use should participate in the election." Sendak said the party does not encourage drug use, just supports its legalization. "We don't think that a school principal has the right to ban us," he said. In 1977, the Blich students predicted the first change of power in the country's history, when the center-left Labor coalition was trounced by a right-wing coalition led by Menachem Begin, who had been in opposition for almost 30 years. The Blich students also predicted Yitzhak Rabin's ouster of Yitzhak Shamir in 1992 and Ehud Barak's defeat of incumbent premier Benjamin Netanyahu in 1999. However, they failed to anticipate Netanyahu's narrow victory over Shimon Peres in 1996, and Ariel Sharon's crushing defeat of Barak in 2001.