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Balad splits from Joint List, throwing Arab electorate into disarray

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

In a potentially election-deciding decision, the majority-Arab Joint List splits into two factions, Hadash-Ta’al and Balad, with Balad citing disagreements on how to handle a rotational agreement in a combined slate’s sixth spot.

Hadash-Ta’al submits its final roster to the Central Elections Committee, with Balad expected soon after.

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

“A day after the election, everyone will come to us and we’ll put everyone on one foot to respect… our population,” says Odeh. The Joint List has in the past recommended a candidate for prime minister, and is expected to do so again in exchange for political demands.

“We really wanted to preserve the Joint List. Ta’al even wanted to keep the Joint List with four parties, with respect,” says Ta’al leader Ahmed Tibi, “but it wasn’t possible.”

Without the Joint List, Balad is not expected to pass the 3.25% electoral threshold to enter the Knesset. In addition, Arab voter turnout — already polling to be low — is expected to drop with a split Joint List.

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