Ex-Minister Kahlon's Faces Funding Threat as MKs Rush to Pass New Law

All parties will be banned from receiving bank loans to fund election campaigns, if new law is passed next Monday.

Rami Shalosh

Lawmakers are trying to quickly pass a new law that would hurt the election funding of the party being established by former Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon.

The proposed law needs to be passed by next Tuesday, when the Knesset votes to dissolve itself and call an election for March 2015.

The law would ban all parties from taking out bank loans to fund their campaigns, and would hit new parties that are not currently represented in the Knesset the hardest.

The proposed change in the law for the funding for parties’ election campaigns, which was submitted to the Knesset only last Tuesday, would require parties to rely on the government funding as provided by law.

Ex-Likud MK Kahlon’s new party would need to make do with supporting its campaign with the advance provided to all parties by the state.

This would be 5.8 million shekels ($1.5 million) under the new law (compared to 5.2 million shekels under the old law), and the party would be required to put up bank guarantees.

Parties with representation in the current Knesset would receive state campaign funding based on the number of seats they hold now, and a lot more money – 1.168 million shekels per Knesset member.

For example, Likud, with 18 seats, would receive 21 million shekels, while the largest single party in the current Knesset, Yesh Atid (19 seats), would receive an advance of 22 million shekels.

The Knesset House Committee will meet this Sunday to approve the law for its second and third readings, which are then planned to be heard on Monday.

Kahlon’s new party – as yet unnamed – said it was “studying the law.”

Coalition whip MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) said, “The bill was submitted in the wake of the state comptroller’s report on the parties’ dependence on the banks. The intention is to make it easier for the existing parties and not to harm new parties.” If required, the wording of the law will be changed so as not to harm new parties, he added.