Bennett's party moves to oust rebel MK to avoid coalition resignation

Move seen as an effort to dissuade more members of the prime minister's Yamina party from following former coalition whip Idit Silman, who has crossed the line to join the opposition after securing a ministerial position in an alternative government
Moran Azulay|
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his Yamina party on Thursday said they would designate member of Knesset Amichai Chikli a deserter from the party, after he repeatedly voted against the coalition, including in the vote to approve it, last June.
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  • After such designation, Chikli will be barred from being elected to any existing party in the next election cycle and will be denied funding from the Knesset.
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    Renegade Yamina Member of Knesset Amichai Chikli and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    Renegade Yamina Member of Knesset Amichai Chikli and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    Renegade Yamina Member of Knesset Amichai Chikli and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: Sharon Tzur, Yoav Dudkevitch )
    The disciplinary move is seen as an attempt to prevent the removal of the coalition from power and as a warning to others in the party who were being urged to resign from it and shift their alliances to the opposition, after the dramatic resignation of former coalition whip Idit Silman on Wednesday.
    Silman's resignation has left the coalition one vote short of a parliamentary majority. Prior to her announcement, she had secured a ministerial position in a Likud-led government, should one be established and a secure spot at the top of the next Likud Knesset list.
    2 View gallery
    ח"כ עידית סילמן
    ח"כ עידית סילמן
    Former coalition whip Idit Silman
    (Photo: Knesset Spokesperson)
    Chikli opposed formation of a coalition in partnership with the Islamist Ra'am party and has since the Bennett government's ascent to power refused to back it.
    "Member of Knesset Amichai Chikli has voted no less than 670 times against the coalition during its last session," Yamina said.
    "He has attempted to cause it to fail," the statement went on to say.
    Bennett delayed any disciplinary action against Chikli until now and the move will have to be approved by the Knesset committee in a vote expected later this month.
    By so doing, Bennett will prevent formation of a separate faction by Silman who will now need two additional members of Yamina, to follow her out of the coalition, rather than one with Chikli as the third.
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