Meretz Seeks to Bar Former Yamina MK from Running with Likud

By Shmuel Smith

President Reuven Rivlin casts his ballot at a voting station in Jerusalem, during the Knesset Elections, on March 23, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — Following the end of the filing period for Israel’s political parties in the Central Elections Committee, attempts to disqualify candidates have begun.

The Meretz party petitioned the CEC on Monday to prevent former Yamina MK Idit Silman from running with the Likud party in November’s election.

Silman, who was the coalition whip, played a key role in bringing down the government when she resigned last April.

Meretz said that her placement on Likud’s list is a “gross violation of the law,” causing “damage to the purity of the elections.”

It cited the Basic Law: Knesset Section 6a, which states that a lawmaker who does not resign from her office immediately after quitting her party cannot run for Knesset with another sitting party. Leaving the party can include voting against the party’s position on expressing confidence in the government, as long as it was done with the promise of political compensation.

Silman can be expected to contest the move, since she did not formally resign her membership in Yamina and the coalition at the time, only actually submitting her resignation last week prior to signing up with Likud. She also never voted no confidence against the government, though did vote against some of its bills in Knesset.

Her critics also accuse her of violating the law against making agreements in exchange for a promised spot in another party. On Wednesday, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu used his discretion as chairman to award Silman the 16th spot on his party’s list.

But Silman denies that she left Yamina due to any promises from Netanyahu.

On Sunday, Yisrael Beytenu petitioned the CEC to bar the head of the Balad party from running, on the grounds that he has advocated positions subversive to the existence of the state. Meretz is opposed to the action.

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