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Likud only party to object to online transparency in election campaign

Candidate for the Likud party leadership Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks as to the temporary chairman of the party Tzahi Hanegbi looks on, during a party gathering in Tel Aviv, 24 November 2005.
YOAV LEMMER / AFP
Last year, Likud was fined NIS 350,000 for taking illegal campaign donations

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party has reportedly refused to accept the Central Elections Committee’s attempt to apply the same legal standards of transparency to new forms of campaigning, specifically online media, ahead of the upcoming elections in April.

Campaigning laws generally require that political entities to identify themselves in their advertisements, but they do not apply to online media, since they were passed before the growth of social media.

The committee represents all the major political parties, which all agreed on broadening the scope of transparency except for the Likud.

Legal adviser for Likud, Avi Halevy, said the party was refusing for two main reasons: modifying campaign rules requires legislation from parliament and without it dozens of other parties not represented by the committee would be exempt from the new rules for online campaigning.

As Israel's national election season kicks off, the governing Likud party and the once dominant Labor party celebrated the beginning of campaign season with events attended by thousands of supporters.

A recent report from Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth daily found that the Likud has been gathering information about former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz in an attempt to find embarrassing stories that could undermine his candidacy in the elections.

Last year, Likud was fined NIS 350,000 for taking illegal campaign donations under the auspices of the annual event that carried the party's name. This year, "Likudiada" became "Leumiada" and event organizers have called it a gathering of the "national camp."

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