Fourth Arab Party Agrees to Joint Run in Israel's Election, Marking Return of Joint List

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United Arab List-Balad lawmakers Heba Yazbak, Mtanes Shehadeh, and Mansour Abbas.
United Arab List-Balad lawmakers Heba Yazbak, Mtanes Shehadeh, and Mansour Abbas. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

The Arab-majority Balad party announced on Sunday that it would join with three others to run together on a joint slate in the September election, marking the reconstitution of the Joint List alliance that ran in the 2015 election, in a bid to increase turnout among Arab voters.

Twenty-six members of Balad's central committee voted in favor of joining the Joint List in the upcoming election, with one voting against and one abstaining, after an hours-long meeting.

>> Read more: Israel's do-over election gives Arab parties an opportunity – one they're refusing to seize | Analysis ■ The Joint List, reborn, must now win the trust of the Israeli Arab public | Analysis

Efforts to unite the four parties had been encumbered by disagreements about which slots on the joint election slate would be reserved for each party. But on Sunday, three of the parties – Hadash, Ta'al, and the United Arab List – announced that they had agreed to join forces, with Balad following suit hours later.  

"We are declaring the establishment of the Joint List," Hadash Chairman Ayman Odeh, who is tapped to lead the alliance, said at a press conference earlier Sunday.

He added the slate hopes that voter turnout among the Arab public will reach 70 percent on September 17. In 2015, the first time the Arab parties ran as the Joint List, Arab voter turnout hit 63 percent. In April's election, when the four parties ran as two separate slates, about 50 percent of the Arab public voted. 

Last week, a reconciliation committee announced its failure to reach an agreement between the four Arab parties. Most of the controversy revolves around spots 11-14 on the party slate, but representatives from the parties agreed to resume negotiations.