The Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG) on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court of Justice regarding the apparent guarantee of a reserved place on the Likud party candidate list for MK Idit Silman. In the previous election, she was elected to the Knesset as part of the Yamina party but she later resigned from the party and bolted from her position as coalition chair while retaining her Knesset seat.
In party primaries, party members vote for a list of candidates they want to see elected to the Knesset. Some spots on the list are reserved for particular individuals the party leadership would like to see make it into the Knesset and are, therefore, within the expected number of seats that party will acquire in the next election. Reportedly, a deal was forged between MK Silman and the Likud party, giving her a reserved spot on the list.
The MQG is requesting that the Supreme Court of Justice issue a declaratory order, conditional orders, an interim order, and a request for an urgent discussion on the issue of the reserved-seat deal that has reportedly been reached between Silman and the Likud.
In the petition, the MQG claims that there is a solid foundation upon which to establish reasonable suspicion of committing crimes in violation of Section 57a of the Knesset Elections Law. This law prohibits the giving of a guaranteed spot to an incumbent member of the Knesset when that MK ran for election on a different party list, if that arrangement did not occur within the first 90 days after the elections. The MQG also requests that the Supreme Court order the Prosecutor's Office and the ombudsman to explain why an investigation has not yet been opened.
Furthermore, the MQG requests that the Supreme Court issue an order freezing any agreement made between the Likud party and MK Silman in order to prevent serious ongoing damage to the legitimacy of the administration and the rule of law. They cite the importance of moral behavior on the part of elected officials, decision-making unclouded by various interests, and the status of the law enforcement system and its transparency to the public.
The MQG states that it appealed to the ombudsman about four months ago, but no response has yet been received.
In the petition, various publications in the media were cited from which it appears that an agreement was indeed made between the Likud party and MK Silman. Evidence includes interviews recently given by Knesset members Yoav Galant (Likud) and Miki Zohar (Likud), in which they mentioned the agreement in question.
The MQG stated: "Section 57A of the Elections Law is designed to deal with the unscrupulous phenomenon of changing loyalties from one party to another for personal gain rather than ideological reasons. It was enacted as part of a set of laws having the singular purpose of preventing members of the Knesset from using their political power to gain personal favors, while trampling on their duty of loyalty to the voters who put them in office. A reserved seat in the Likud for MK Silman would be a gross violation of the provisions of this section. Ignoring this allegation would effectively turn this law into a dead letter in the legal statutes of the State of Israel."