Likud Court Cancels Party Primary

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Likud party will not hold primaries for its Knesset list in the March elections, an internal court ruled on Monday, overturning a previous ruling to hold the primaries.

Likud MKs Keti Sheetrit, Shlomo Karhi and Keren Barak were joined by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ in a petition to cancel the primaries.

The reason for cancellation was partly technical, namely the difficulty of voting and then submitting a new list of candidates in time for the January 15 deadline at the Central Elections Committee.

Likud legal adviser Avi Halevy, who filed the petition, argued that since the March general elections are a repeat of the September vote, maintaining the current list “doesn’t impinge on the rights of party members to be elected to the Knesset,” according to The Times of Israel.

The political reason, some said, was the desire of recently elected MKs to safeguard their Knesset seats, which they had attained after great effort and often personal expense.

In addition, such primaries would have been paid for with taxpayers’ money, under a law passed last year sponsored by Likud MK David Amsalem.

The leadership primary, pitting Netanyahu against MK Gideon Saar, was not affected by Monday’s decision, and is scheduled to go ahead on Thursday.