Zoabi considers run for Nazareth mayor

By
August 13, 2013 12:53

Balad MK would only have to resign from Knesset if elected mayor; will have to make final decision to run by Thursday.

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Haneen Zoabi at the President's residence, January 31, 2013.

Haneen Zoabi. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Several lawmakers have tried to propose bills to ban MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) from the Knesset, but the controversy-prone legislator may leave of her own volition to run for mayor of Nazareth.

Zoabi said Tuesday that she has yet to make a final decision, but is very seriously considering joining the mayoral race in the town where she was born and raised. She will have to make a final decision by Thursday, the deadline to submit candidacy.

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If Zoabi runs, she will do so as an independent candidate and not as part of Balad, and will be following in the footsteps of her relative, Saif al-Din Zoabi, a former MK and mayor of Nazareth in the 1980s.

Municipal elections are scheduled for October 22, leaving Zoabi little time to campaign, but she has name recognition as an advantage.

The Balad MK is best known for her participation in the 2010 Gaza flotilla, during which she was aboard the Mavi Marmara, and subsequent suspension from Knesset debates. The Knesset Ethics Committee also punished her for pushing a Knesset usher and for traveling to South Africa to testify to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine without receiving advance permission.

The Nazareth mayoral race recently heated up when the town’s Deputy Mayor Ali Sallam said he is leaving the Hadash party and running for mayor, and the current mayor, Ramiz Jaraisy, has yet to announce if he is running for reelection after serving in the position for 19 years.

Should Zoabi choose to run for mayor of Nazareth, she will be the second current MK to take part in municipal elections. The other is MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), who hopes to be mayor of Tel Aviv.

Neither Zoabi nor Horowitz will have to resign from the Knesset to campaign, but they would have to leave the legislature if they are elected mayor.


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