Rivlin to Parties: Repay Debts, Now

Knesset speaker Reuvin Rivlin fired off an urgent series of letters yesterday, calling on certain of Israel's political parties to repay debts originating from the November 2008 municipal elections.

The parties managed to pile up debts totalling NIS 42.7 million as they touted their charms to voters. The worst offender is the Kadima party, which owes the treasury NIS 14.9 million. In second place we find the Labor Party, with a debt of NIS 8.6 million.

The Gil Pensioners Party was no slouch, racking up NIS 2.5 million in debt, while the Likud party headed by Benjamin Netanyahu owes the state 'only' NIS 1.8 million.

The Hadash party owes NIS 1.3 million.

Rivlin was spurred into action following a letter he received from Interior Minister Eli Yishai, detailing the outstanding debts.

Under regulations adopted in 2008, the Knesset chair is not entitled to give the parties leeway on repaying debt as he pleases. He may do so only on the recommendation of a public commission.