Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Amichai Chikli

In an unexpected move, the Central Election Committee disqualified former Yamina MK Amichai Chikli from running with the Likud in the upcoming elections. The committee argued that allowing him to run would damage the public’s faith in the “rules of the game.”

Chikli had been considered a “rebel” MK after he refused to join Naftali Bennett’s coalition with the Left and the Arab parties, voted against Yamina, and had refused to quit the Knesset. In the end his “rebel” status was made official. Idit Silman, who quit the Yamina party as the coalition was already dying, was not disqualified and can run with the Likud. The Likud plans to appeal the Chikli decision in the High Court. One of the arguments the Likud is making is that legally a single judge can not make that decision, even though it’s been tradition to allow it.

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Chikli reacted to the decision saying that it makes no difference to him. He’s willing to pay the price for sticking to his principles. He said that judge Amit is a politician in a robe and his decision is scandalous.

Political reporter Amit Segal said the world is upside down when the only candidate who stuck to his party’s principles is considered the rebel.

In an even more surprising disclosure, Dafna Liel reports that interim PM Yair Lapid had a plan B in place in case PM Naftali Bennett tried to game the system and prevent Lapid from becoming prime minister.

According to the coalition agreement, Bennett could have theoretically prevented the rotation agreement from being implemented if he could have convinced an MK from the coalition’s left wing, such as one of the Arab MKs, to vote for the dispersal of the government. But if Bennett was working towards that hypothetical scenario, the decision by Yamina MK Nir Orbach to quit preempted any possibility of that happening.

According to Liel, MK Michal Shir, who was then with the New Hope party, secretly promised Lapid that if the coalition were to collapse, she would vote for the dispersal.

Since at the time she was on the right wing of the coalition, that would have activated the rotation agreement and Lapid would have become the prime minister despite Bennett’s attempt. Shir subsequently switched parties to join Lapid’s party in the upcoming elections.  She has not been disqualified for damaging the public’s faith in the “rules of the game.”

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