December 5, 2022

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Top Court Rejects Appeal for Barring Idit Silman from Elections

3 min read
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On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal for the disqualification of the former Yamina MK Idit Silman for running in the November elections as part of the Likud slate.

The Movement for Quality Government (MQG) and the Meretz party had filed the appeal in question and during the session, a dim view of it was expressed by the justices.

The justices recommended that the appeal be withdrawn and Meretz complied, but MQG wanted a ruling on the appeal, which eventually resulted in rejection.

The disqualification

The reason that MQG and Meretz had filed the appeal for disqualification was over reports that Silman had made an agreement with the Likud party of taking down the coalition.

In return, the reports said that she had been promised a spot on the Likud slate for the new round of elections.

This year in April, Silman had quit the coalition and it had taken away the majority of the ruling bloc, which eventually resulted in its collapse after two months.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the chairman of the Likud party, and the leader of the opposition, did eventually give Silman a place on his party’s list.

If these agreements are made 90 days before the election, they are prohibited by the Knesset under the Law of Elections’ section 57a.

No sanctions

Last week, the Central Elections Committee had also rejected the petition and stated that there were no sanctions mentioned in the law for such actions.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court said that disqualifying Silman from participating in the elections would be a violation of her right to be elected.

They were also not in favor of the request of the Meretz party asking for Silman’s disqualification, when the Yamina party, which was the Knesset faction she belonged to, had not done so.

According to Justice Noam Sohlberg, since there was no similar request from Yamina, they could not overturn the decision of the Central Elections Committee because it would become a political intervention.

The arguments

Even though the judges objected, Eliad Shrag, the attorney for MQG, continued arguing defiantly that Israel’s party-based and parliamentary democratic system would be hurt due to Silman’s actions.

He said that while it may be legal for Silman to get a reserved spot on the Likud slate so quickly after leaving Yamina, it was detrimental to the country’s political system.

Hayut agreed with the lawyer in principle, but added that the law did not allow Silman’s disqualification in the existing circumstances.

There were more hearings in the court later in the day on similar appeals for disqualification of Amichai Chikli, another former Yamina MK, as well as the Arab nationalist Balad party.

Chikli’s chances are not that good as that of Silman, as the Central Elections Committee had ruled against him last week.

He had also left the coalition and booked a spot on the Likud slate for the upcoming Knesset elections. Balad’s petition was also heard in court and it is likely to rule in the party’s favor.

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