Ahead of this week’s deadline to declare electoral slates, Arab-Israeli party Balad has agreed to join the other three Palestinian factions to once again run as the Joint List in Israel’s September 17 election.
Balad’s central committee yesterday voted in favor of re-entering the Joint List, an alliance of four Arab-Israeli parties formed in the run-up to the 2015 election to ensure the factions passed the minimum 3.25 percent voting threshold needed to sit in the Knesset.
— Chris J (@Chriss104) July 29, 2019
The alliance broke down ahead of Israel’s April election, with the parties opting to run on two slates: Hadash-Ta’al and Ra’am-Balad. However, following disastrous voter turnout among Palestinian citizens of Israel and poor results – winning only ten seats between the two lists, three seats less than the Joint List had held since 2015 – the four parties have been working to resurrect the alliance ready for September’s do-over election.
These attempts have caused weeks of political infighting among the parties, with disagreements centering on which faction would hold the 11th and 14th position on the electoral slate. The first ten slots were reserved for those Knesset Members (MKs) who were elected in April.
The four major Arab parties have announced the resurrection of the Joint List, which will be led by Hadash chairman Ayman Odeh. After winning 13 mandates to become the third largest party in the Knesset in 2015, the union split and took only 10 in April. https://t.co/LKDeQNEpDJ
— OneVoice Movement (@OneVoice) July 29, 2019
The three other factions – Hadash, Ta’al, and Ra’am – announced they would run together earlier on Sunday, effectively forcing Balad to declare its intention lest it risks falling below the electoral threshold if it ran alone. The motion to join the other three parties was passed with a 26-2 majority after one party member abstained and another voted against the merger.
It is not yet clear who will head the newly-confirmed Joint List, though veteran MK Ayman Odeh is expected to hold on to the top slot. The deadline to declare the slates is set for Thursday.
Ayman Odeh is reelected as the chairman of Hadash, the only Arab-Jewish political party in Israel, which is considering joining forces with the Balad party for the upcoming election, as Joint List parties are discussing ending their alliance. https://t.co/3n1fnxv540
— Shibley Telhami (@ShibleyTelhami) February 2, 2019
Whether the move will be enough to inspire Palestinian citizens of Israel to head to the polls is, however, debatable. After April’s dire performance many Palestinian citizens have expressed anger and frustration at the Joint List, accusing its MKs of putting personal interests ahead of the needs of the community. The infighting which has characterized the Joint List’s resurrection will have done little to dispel this perception and leaves the alliance with little over six weeks to campaign before September 17.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)