Joint (Arab) List MK will not run in upcoming elections

A Joint List MK said on Saturday he would not seek a seat in the next Knesset, even as the predominantly Arab party, credited with poor results in polls, faces looming internal divisions of the next elections.

MK Osama Saadi made the announcement to Taal party, a member of the Joint (Arab) List, on the occasion of the meeting to select candidates for the November 1 election.

He indicated that he would not be in the running.

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Taal activists, surprised by this decision, tried to convince Saadi to reconsider his decision.

Sources inside Taal told Channel 12 that Saadi felt unappreciated by Hadash and Balad, the other two Joint List member parties.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, Saadi recently confided to his partners that he was exhausted and irritated by the infighting within the Joint (Arab) List.

Saadi, brother-in-law and close confidant of Taal leader Ahmad Tibi, entered the Knesset in 2015 when the Joint List won 15 seats, its highest score yet.

His announcement came just days after Kan released the results of a poll predicting the lowest turnout ever among Israeli Arabs for the November 1 poll, very likely to lead to a weakening of Arab representation in the Knesset.

The lowest turnout ever recorded for Arab voters – 44.6% – was reached in the last elections, in 2021.

A year earlier, when the four main Arab and Arab-majority parties ran on a joint list, known as the Joint List, Arab turnout peaked – at 64.8% – giving the Arab List united 15 of the 120 seats in the Knesset.

The Islamist Raam party’s decision to go it alone in the 2021 elections has dropped Arab representation to 10 seats in the current Knesset (6 for the Joint List, 4 for Raam), and the poll finds that it will shrink further to nine – five for the Joint List and four for Raam – if the composition of the parties does not change.

The poll also found that if the Palestinian nationalist party Balad pulls out of the Joint (Arab) List, as it threatens to do, Arab representation would be further weakened, with the risk that all three parties will not cross the 3.25 threshold. %.

In such a scenario, Balad would fail to enter the Knesset, and the Joint List, like Raam, would barely get 4 seats each, barely above the threshold.

Joint List MKs celebrate after a Knesset vote rejected an expansion of the Palestinian family reunification law, in Jerusalem on July 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Weakening the representation of Arab parties, from 10 to 8 seats, would translate positively for the other parties, enough to bring opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing and religious allies to a total of 61 seats, the majority in the Knesset.

Current polls estimate that Netanyahu’s bloc will win 59-60 seats, and parties in the current coalition – which includes Raam in its ranks – will muster 45-55 seats, renewing the political stalemate that has already led to the organization of four elections over the past three years.

Recent television polls estimate that the Joint List, independent of the two blocs, should win 5 to 6 seats.

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Joint (Arab) List MK will not run in upcoming elections


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