Likud MKs Challenge Kulanu Merger

Head of the Kulanu party Moshe Kahlon on election night, April 9.
(Roy Alima/Flash90)

Two freshman Likud MKs have taken their party to court over a merger with Moshe Kahlan’s Kulanu which would push them down on the electoral list, The Times of Israel reported on Tuesday.

MKs Michal Shir and Ariel Kallner filed an appeal with the Likud’s internal court after the party secretariat approved the deal, giving four slots to Kulanu members: numbers 5, 15, 29, 35, with Kahlon placed fifth. Shir and Kallner were No. 29 and No. 34; they will both be pushed back three spots according to the agreement. Since the party currently has 35 Knesset seats, the deal would jeopardize their reelection.

The MKs claim the decision was approved by the secretariat without due process and against the party’s own rules.

In a compromise proposal, they suggested that Kahlon and Kulanu No. 2 Eli Cohen would keep their reserved spots, but not No. 3 Yifat Shasha-Biton and No. 4 Roy Folkman. They argued that since these two “have repeatedly made statements against the Likud movement and have expressed a worldview that is different from the vision and goals of Likud,” they should not be awarded slots.

If, however, the predicted gains from the merger are fulfilled, Shir and Kallner would retain their Knesset seats.

“With Kahlon, we will receive 40 seats,” declared PM Netanyahu last week in announcing the merger.