Likud court rules that primaries must be held for entire party list

The Likud primaries will include the entire party list if the court decision holds.

By World Israel News Staff

The Likud court said that all Knesset candidates on the party list must run in new primaries, in a ruling issued on Thursday.

The court’s tribunal, led by former MK and attorney Michael Kleiner, said that the move by the Likud Central Committee to cancel primaries for the party list was invalid at it was passed by an insufficient number of Likud members required to change the party’s bylaws.

According to Arutz7, there is still a chance for appeal. Kleiner said the decision was a dramatic one for Likud candidates, according to Kan Reshet Bet.

Originally, Likud primaries, set for Dec. 26, were meant to determine only the party’s head. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been challenged by Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar. Sa’ar is seen as having little chance to unseat Netanyahu, but a strong showing, which has been pegged at 30 percent of the vote or better, could put him in pole position as the future leader of Likud.

Assuming the Likud court decision holds, all of the Likud candidates must compete.

Freezing the primaries for the party list was seen as beneficial to Netanyahu, who observers said hoped to avoid defections by protecting everyone’s seat.

Sa’ar said of the news, “We have no problem with the decision. We welcome it. We will not appeal the decision.”

However, Haim Katz, chairman of the Likud Central Committee, said, “The Knesset members were elected and served in a transitional government not an active one, we have to allow them to realize their service and and to serve the citizens of Israel. I hope that in a larger debate wisdom will conquer and the judges will understand the costs involved in Likud primaries and to the state and will stop elections for the [entire] list.”