Political party controllers: The case of Likud

How many political parties are organized to have an internal controller with authority to sanction the party leader? I do not think I have heard of such a case before. The controller* for the Likud Party has disqualified incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the party’s leadership primary in advance of the snap election (set for March, 2015). The disqualification is due to allegations of misuse of party funds and other resources.

There is dispute about whether, in fact, the Likud controller can do this. The case itself is interesting, and could even add to the woes that suggest that Netanyahu could be “finished“. But the general question is of even more interest: do other parties have such powerful internal checks? (Powerful, that is, if this disqualification is not overturned on procedural grounds.)

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* Yes, the article refers to the “comptroller”, but as far as I know the correct pronunciation is always “controller” and so it should be spelled.

4 thoughts on “Political party controllers: The case of Likud

  1. I think this is probably more a case of exceptional Israeli chutzpa than exceptional Israeli institutions…

  2. There’s a case for having some sort of internal party “ethics council” that can disqualify compromised candidates. But that should require a vote of something like fifteen out of twenty-one members. Giving that much power to a single person is extreme.
    I have some recollection of reading that the New South Wales Labor Party, under Premier Jack Lang in the 1930s, experimented with (a) directly electing the party leader by vote of the membership and then (b) empowering the leader to expel MPs from the caucus. Did not got well, apparently.
    Queensland Labor premier Peter Beattie in 2001 was reported in the media as “sacking” some Labor MPs and candidates who were compromised by vote-rorting scandals (adding fake names to the state electoral roll so they could win internal party preselection ballots). However I think this was journalistic shorthand for “Beattie used his personal popularity with the voters and his charismatic authority within the party to persuade the State Executive to suspend or remove those MPs/ candidates.”

  3. The ALP has an elaborate hierarchy of disputes committees. Like a lot of ALP structures they are a hangover from the late 40s and early 50s when there was a serious effort by the Communist Party of Australia to take over the party and an equally serious effort by the Industrial Groups to defend the party. They certainly are not single individuals and they certainly do not act on their own motion. The sad reality is that (like most ALP structures) they now do very little at all.

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