December 5, 2022

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Online Israel News and Updates

High Court Overturns Election Ban for Balad and Chikli

3 min read
Naftali Bennett

On Sunday, the High Court overturned the rulings of the elections committee against the ex-Yamina MK Amichai Chikli and the Arab nationalist Balad party, permitting them to run in the upcoming elections.

On Thursday, the Central Elections Committee had voted to bar Balad from running in the elections, prompting the party to file an appeal.

The Central Elections Committee had accepted a petition that Balad negated the existence of Israel.

History

Election panels in the past have also disqualified Balad and a number of its lawmakers, but they have managed to win every Supreme Court appeal for getting reinstated.

It was the same this time around, as all nine justices stated that the Arab party could run in the November elections.

In the debate, the decision of the election’s committee was heavily criticized by the judges. Judge Anat Baron said that the request had been a shallow one and did not have any evidence.

The judge said that disqualifying a party based on this ruling was just too serious. Polls indicated that Balad is unlikely to cross the electoral threshold of 3.25% for entering the next Knesset.

If this happens, then a number of Arab votes would be nullified and this could play a vital role in the deadlock predicted between the different political blocs in favor of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing religious one.

Chikli’s ruling

The ruling of the elections committee against Chikli was also unanimously overturned by the judges. The petition was that Chikli had not left the Knesset quickly enough after being ousted from his Yamina party.

Therefore, he had been disqualified, which was declared a miscarriage of justice by the MK himself and the Likud party.

Netanyahu had stated that if Chikli was now allowed to run, he would make him a minister if he becomes the prime minister in the elections.

Chikli and Likud had written in his appeal that the disqualification violated his basic constitutional right to be elected and to vote.

Their primary claim was that Likud and Chikli had depended on an agreement that was approved in the Jerusalem District Court, thereby making him eligible to run in the November elections.

Yamina background

In July, the rebel lawmaker had filed an appeal against his ouster from the Yamina party, but had decided to pull it back.

He had been encouraged by the Jerusalem court to consider a compromise that involved resigning from his seat in the Knesset and not get barred from running with a different party in the next elections.

Even though Chikli had entered the Knesset with the Yamina party in 2021, he had made a splash quickly when broke from the party due to the big tent government that was being formed.

This made him a symbol of opposition from the right-wing to the current outgoing government. Chikli was handpicked by Netanyahu for one of his discretionary spots on the Likud party slate.

Chikli was set for reentering the Knesset easily, as he has been given the 14th slot with the party polling in the 30s.

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