MK Ghattas sets his sights on becoming leader of Balad

Southern Islamic Movement confirms Masud Ganaim to replace Ibrahim Sarsur as leader of movement.

Balad MK Basel Ghattas said in an interview with an Israeli Arab media outlet that he would like to run for the leadership of his party and replace current head Jamal Zahalka.
If Zahalka withdraws his candidacy to lead the party or fails to get the required support of 60 percent, then “I see myself as a candidate for the first spot,” he told in an interview on Thursday.
Zahalka has not yet gathered the support needed to assure himself another term as party head, a knowledgeable political source told The Jerusalem Post last month.
The source had pointed out that Zahalka was pushing hard for a united Arab list, even though negotiations were not progressing smoothly, because Balad is pressured by polls indicating it will not make it into the next Knesset.
“Hadash prefers unity, but not with Balad or the Islamic Movement’s party,” said the source.
The Southern Islamic Movement in Israel confirmed that MK Masud Ganaim (United Arab List) would head the movement and take over from MK Ibrahim Sarsur, who decided not to run in the upcoming elections, the Israeli Arab website Kul al-Arab reported on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the board members of the Arab-Jewish party Hadash discussed on Saturday in Nazareth whether to form a joint Arab list with Arab parties.
The parties – United Arab List- Ta’al, Hadash, and Balad – have been unable to close a deal to run together, much less agree on who would lead the new grouping in the election.
Former Labor Knesset speaker Avraham Burg joined the communist party on Saturday, giving a speech on Shabbat despite the fact that he is religiously observant, Channel 2 reported. Burg’s late father, Yosef, was a founder of the defunct right-wing National Religious Party and served as a minister in various governments.