On Monday, the Likud Municipal Committee informed MK Oren Hazan that he is forbidden from running for Mayor of Tel Aviv against incumbent Mayor Ron Huldai, who is affiliated with the Labor Party, and MK Stav Shafir (Zionist Camp). The Likud body decided to run only a list of candidates for the City Council.
MK Hazan has already changed his home address from the city of Ariel in Samaria to Tel Aviv in order to qualify for the race, and was preparing to launch his campaign shortly.
Hazan has told Yedioth Aharonoth that as far as he is concerned, he could run as an independent, but that would effectively position him in a race against the Likud list, which could lead to his expulsion from the party and from a crack at the next Knesset primaries on the Likud list.
Hazan said in response, “I am flattered that Netanyahu has decided that my unique activity in the Knesset is more important than the mayoralty of Tel Aviv. I will speak with him in the coming days and report regarding my political future.”
According to Ydioth, the ban was not personal, but stemmed from an internal poll that showed a Likud candidate could not possibly unseat Mayor Huldai. The poll did not cite Hazan’s name in particular, but the party is refusing to pay for another poll.
On January 31, the Knesset Ethics Committee, following five complaint petitions by MKs, decided to remove Hazan from the Knesset plenum and Knesset committees for six months, not including votes, and to deny him one week’s salary.