Green Party head faces serious challenge

Deputy leader Shachnai promises to unify environmental parties if she becomes chair.

green party 88 (photo credit: )
green party 88
(photo credit: )
The fragmentation of the environmental political movement could be a thing of the past by week's end. Green Party secretary-general and deputy chairwoman Hadas Shachnai promised on Wednesday to unite all of the environmental parties on a joint list if she becomes head of the party. Shachnai could be elected the new chairwoman if a petition she filed against current head Pe'er Visner meets with success. Tel Aviv District Court Deputy President Yehooda Zaft ruled on Wednesday morning that the Green Party's internal court must consider a petition to remove Visner as chairman before registering its Knesset candidates list. Shachnai, who filed the petition, says Visner is no longer eligible to head the party because he has already served two four-year terms, the limit according to the party's charter. "The district court made the right decision; I hope that the movement's court will rule in the same vein. When the legal issues have been decided, I will move to unite all the environmental forces into a joint run for the 18th Knesset. Simultaneously, I will dissolve the union with the Shinui party refugees led by Avraham Poraz, which has aroused a large grievance among the party's members," she said in a statement. The party announced a list for the Knesset on Tuesday that included former Shinui head Poraz and former Shinui minister Ilan Shalgi. With a united green list, featuring the Green Party and the Green Movement-Meimad, Shachnai is positive they will pass the 2 percent threshold to enter the Knesset. "Yes, I am positive [we will pass the threshold]. And I am not worried about Meretz. If I was worried I wouldn't have entered politics and done what I have done. So far I have been successful," she told The Jerusalem Post. Green Party spokesman Ido Tandovsky told the Post that Visner and the party would await the decision of its internal court. He added that they were no different than any other party, and mentioned a similar process occurring in the Likud concerning a petition by Michael Ratzon. A poll last week gave a green party four seats in the 18th Knesset, but if two such parties run on February 10, that seems unlikely. Zaft also ruled that the Green Party could not submit its list for the Knesset to the parties registrar until the internal court considered Shachnai's petition. He ordered the internal court to meet within 24 hours. Shachnai said the internal court was set to meet at 3 p.m. on Thursday to hear her case. Moreover, if Shachnai's petition was accepted, Zaft wrote, Visner would not be allowed to continue as head of the party. Zaft said he refused to rule on the issue himself, because the internal court was de facto recognized by both the plaintiffs and the respondents as the authority for internal party issues. Shachnai had maintained that the court was convened illegally. Zaft also left open the possibility of an appeal by Shachnai. The other serious green party, The Green Movement, welcomed the new developments. "We are hopeful that justice will be done in the internal Green Party court in the nick of time to unite all the green parties," Green Movement-Meimad No. 3 Alon Tal said.