Balad splits from Joint List, throwing Arab voters into disarray

In potentially election-defining move, Arab-majority Joint List splits into two factions, Hadash-Ta’al and Balad, with Balad citing disagreements over how to handle a sixth-slate rotation deal combined.

Hadash-Ta’al submits its final list to the Central Election Commission, with Balad expected shortly thereafter.

“We wanted as broad a unification as possible,” says Hadash, and Joint (Arab) List leader Ayman Odeh, pointing out that recent polls indicate the Joint (Arab) List will be “the most important political party” after the election due to its wedge position between the political blocs. The Joint List has historically not aligned with a coalition.

“The day after the election, everyone will come to us and we will put everyone on their feet to respect… our people,” says Odeh. The Joint List has in the past recommended a candidate for prime minister and is expected to do so again in return for political demands.

“We really wanted to preserve the Joint List. Ta’al even wanted to keep the Arab List united with four parties, with respect,” says Ta’al leader Ahmed Tibi, “but that was not possible.”

Without the Joint List, Balad would not have to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold to enter the Knesset. In addition, Arab voter turnout – already low in the polls – is expected to drop with a split common list.

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