As Third Israeli Election Nears, Arab Alliance's Parties Divided on Maintaining Their Slates

Half of the Joint List's four factions will run with the same tickets as they did in September, while the other two will hold primaries but expect no major changes

Joint List lawmakers arrive to give their recommendation to the president of whom should be given the mandate to form a government, September 22, 2019.
Emil Salman

The Joint List, an alliance of Arab-majority parties, is considering shuffling its slate of candidates in advance of Israel's third election this year, slated to take place on March 2.

Hadash and Balad, two factions in the four-party list, announced Saturday that they will maintain the same party rosters. The United Arab List decided to hold a primary election on January 10; the Ta'al party will hold theirs a day later. Despite the primaries, neither party expects significant changes to their slates. 

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Regardless of the results of the primary elections, the four parties comprising the Joint List still plan on running together as a unified alliance. 

After his Hadash party decided to keep their slate unchanged, Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh said that he "promises that even in the third election campaign, I will continue to lead us as we rise in strength, alongside the other members of the faction, in order to implement the values that connect us all: An Arab-Jewish partnership that will bring peace, equality, democracy and social justice for all."

The parties that make up the Joint List are of the opinion that they can gain steam in the March election. After the Joint List received 13 seats in September's round of voting, they have their sights set on 15 or even 16 seats – by appealing directly to Jewish voters, among other means.

"The Joint List is the only [party] that isn't afraid of elections, but is actually interested in them," MK Ahmad Tibi said after the Knesset voted to dissolve itself earlier this month. "We have data and a sense that the voting rate among Arabs will rise and the Joint List will get more seats," he added.

A central Joint List activist told Haaretz after the Knesset vote that the factions within the party seek to avoid the internal conflicts that characterized the last two elections. Since then, he said, the Joint List wants to present their roll of candidates as soon as possible. "It'll encourage the voters who are on the fence to get out and vote," he added.