Aiman Ouda Elected as Hadash Chairman After Barakeh Withdraws

Arab parties Hadash and Balad holding primaries; MK Haneen Zoabi secures no. 2 slot at Balad.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Aiman Ouda, center, at the Hadash primary election, January 17, 2014.
Aiman Ouda, center, at the Hadash primary election, January 17, 2014. Credit: Gil Eliyahu
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Hadash Secretary-General Aiman Ouda was elected as party chairman in the party's primary election on Saturday. MK Mohammed Barakeh, the previous chairman, withdrew his candidacy earlier, alongside two other contenders, MK Issam Mahoul and MK Afou Agbaria.

Aida Tomeh Saliman won the second spot on the list with 330 votes, beating out Nabila Espanioly who received 316. Saliman is known among the Arab community for her activism in the field of women's rights, and running an organization that combats violence against women.

MK Dov Khenin received 75 percent of the votes for the third slot on the party's slate, securing him the spot.

The Arab party Balad also picked its Knesset list on Saturday Jamal Zahalka will remain chairman, while MK Hanin Zoabi was elected to slot number 2.

The primaries in both parties are being held against the backdrop of the ongoing debate over creating a united Arab Knesset slate.

Barakeh, the first to withdraw from the Hadash leadership race, came under fire recently for backtracking on his intention to leave the post, which critics say would have paved the way for a representative of a younger generation. His supporters, however, claimed that he was pressured to stay on in order to secure enough Knesset seats for the party.

According to estimates, Barakeh understood that he would not be able to win the support of 66 percent of voters in the primary necessary to run again for party chairman. Barakeh told Haaretz, however, that it was a personal decision unrelated to political considerations.

MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash).Credit: Oren Nahshon

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