The Ta'al Party will run independently in the upcoming election instead of a joint slate with another Arab-majority party, Chairman Ahmad Tibi said Friday. In January, Tibi's Ta'al split from the Joint List, an alliance of Arab political parties.
At a party conference, Tibi announced that his party "will run alone in the upcoming election on a ticket that will represent the mosaic of Arab society." He called on the three other parties that had comprised the Joint List alliance to sign a vote-sharing agreement, which allows a party to receive another party's surplus votes when Knesset seats are distributed.
"The decision to run on a separate ticket stems from the fact that the other parties on the Joint List rejected Ta'al's proposal to include the Arab public in choosing the ticket through professional surveys or open primaries among Arab society," Tibi said.
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Tibi's remarks were made after he was criticized by the leader of Hadash, the only Arab-Jewish political party in Israel, in remarks made on Friday.
Hadash chairman Ayman Odeh said during a press conference in Haifa that his party is interested in running a joint ticket: "We are prepared to do anything for the continuation of the list and the Arab public needs to settle scores with those who turned the Joint List into a petty fight over positions and chose to abandon it," he said.
MK Aida Toma-Suleiman who also spoke at the press conference said a Joint List would be the preferred option but the party is also ready to go down different routes such as alliances with different lists within the Arab public as well as democratic Jewish forces.
Asked by Haaretz if the option of joining forces with Meretz was considered, Ayman Odeh replied the option is not being considered by the party. "The situation is not ripe for considering joining forces with Meretz, this will not happen in the next weeks," he said.
Odeh however added that Hadash will be ready to discuss a vote-sharing agreement after it had refused to sign it in the previous elections.
On Thursday, Haaretz reported that the United Arab List would still go forward and run for election on its own if other parties that form the alliance were to decide to go it alone as well. The movement's council decided to increase pressure on the parties to continue cooperation in the Knesset, also as a way of increasing the pressure on Tibi.
The separation between the four parties that formed the Joint List could lead to a loss of support among Israeli Arabs, whose vote turnout is often quite low.
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