State Comptroller Contest Could Hint at September Election Divisions

yehudah shomron
State Comptroller Yosef Shapira (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Although the 21st Knesset voted itself out of office, it has one more responsibility – choosing the next State Comptroller. That vote will take place Monday, as two candidates – Matanyahu Engleman, Director-General of the State Higher Education Commission, and IDF Reserve General Giora Rom.

The vote is being conducted as the result of a decision by the Knesset’s legal adviser that a delay in the vote was not permissible. Although the Knesset is not officially functioning, the law allows for a Knesset out of session to gather for an emergency policy vote. As the last MKs to occupy the plenum, the MKs of the 21st Knesset will choose the candidate for the post.

While the views of both candidates are centrist, the contest is shaping up as a preview of what to expect in the upcoming September elections. Engelman is the preferred candidate of the Likud, and it is expected that other parties that would have been in Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition will vote for him as well. Rom is the preferred candidate of Blue and White, and is supported by Labor and Meretz as well.

However, Likud officials fear that the falling-out last week between Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman could harm Engelman’s chance of getting elected. While Liberman and Yisrael Beytenu supported him initially, Likud officials fear that Liberman will use the vote to get back at Netanyahu, either by voting against the Likud candidate or abstaining. Current State Comptroller Yosef Shapira is set to leave office at the end of June.