Moshe Kahlon's pick for the third spot in his Knesset list, Tsega Melaku, is forbidden from running for Knesset in the upcoming elections, the Elections Committee has ruled.
Melaku, an author and social activist, has been a journalist with the Israel Broadcasting Authority since 2008. She failed to resign from the IBA in time, however, and therefore has not completed the “cooling off” period required of top grade public servants who wish to run for Knesset.
The Elections Law stipulates that a public servant whose grade in one of the top four in the civil service must resign at least 10 days before the day on which early elections are called, if he wishes to compete in them.
Melaku asked the IBA for a leave without pay but did not resign by December 18, which was the deadline for doing so. The IBA informed the Election Committee that Melaku is still an IBA employee and that her request for unpaid leave has not been granted.
Judge Salim Joubran, who heads the Election Committee, therefore ruled Monday that Melaku may not run in Kulanu's list.
"I am aware that my decision runs counter to Mrs. Melaku's constitutional right to vie in the elections,” wrote Joubran. “What is more, it seems that the general public, with an emphasis on the Israeli Ethiopian community, would have benefited if Mrs. Melaku had contended in the elections and had been elected as an MK.”
However, he added: “the cooling off instructions for Knesset elections are clear.”
Melaku ran Reshet Aleph radio for three years, from 2008. recently, she has worked as an editor and presenter of shows in Reka, the radio network for immigrants (olim).