MKs in the Likud who are opposed to the party's election list merger with Yisrael Beytenu have now had a few days to recover from their shock at Thursday night's announcement by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Now they are ready to strike back and halt the merger, if they can – and their first move will be to demand a secret ballot on the merger at Monday's Likud Central Committee meeting.
According to Likud by-laws, a petition with 400 signatures is sufficient to demand such a secret vote, and organizers of the petition, chief among them Minister Michael Eitan, say they have the signatures. But, Eitan said, signatures are not enough; he needs bodies. “The signatures are worthless unless those who signed are present at the meeting,” said Eitan. “I call on anyone who opposes this agreement to join us at the Likud meeting Monday afternoon” and make their voice heard, he added.
The deal has advantages and disadvantages for both parties, political analysts said. But one group that could lose out are the Likud activists who align themselves with a particular MK, in the hope or expectation that they will be “rewarded” for their efforts in getting their man or woman into the Knesset.
Speaking to the News1 site, Likud activists said that they were not necessarily convinced that the joint list was a good idea. “It's all going to depend on the polls we see Monday,” one activist said. “If the polls show that the Likud can get 32 or 34 seats on its own, we are likely to reject the joint list,” because there will be more room on a Likud list for all the prospective MKs who seek to run.
Even though the deal with Yisrael Beytenu was very generous to the Likud -- which puts two Likud members on the list for each Yisrael Beytenu member – the joint list means that some prospective MKs will not be placed in a “realistic “ spot on the list that will guarantee them a spot in the Knesset, the activist said. In any event, he said, the idea of a secret ballot to approve or disapprove the union was a good idea, and would probably be adopted at the meeting.