The Arab Israeli parties Ra’am and Balad held their primary elections on Saturday at respective conferences in which delegates chose candidates for the upcoming election.
Ra’am, which for the first time in Israel’s history joined the coalition after the last election, held its conference in Tirah, while Balad, one of the three parties that make up the Joint List, held its conference in Shfaram.
The only newcomer on the Ra’am list is Walid Alhuashla, who is the chairman of the Islamic Movement’s General Assembly and Ra’am’s Knesset faction coordinator. He served in the past as advisor to Ra’am MK Said Alharumi, who passed away on August 25. A resident of the unrecognized Bedouin town of Sawa in the Negev, Alhuashla is 41 and has an MA in political science from Haifa University.
The 591 attendees at the Ra’am conference only chose their first four candidates. The number one, two and four spots were not challenged, and were merely reaffirmed by the assembly. Number one was reserved for the head of the list, MK Mansour Abbas, number two for a representative of the Center of the country and will continue to be occupied by MK Walid Taha, and number four for a woman, and will continue to be MK Iman Khatib-Yasin.
In the Balad primary, the party’s only serving MK Sami Abou Shahadeh, finished in first place. Former MK Matanes Shahadeh came in second. The third spot, which was reserved for a woman, was won by Dowa’a Hawash.
“Hundreds of committee members who represent the thousands of party members participated in Balad’s primaries today,” Abou Shahadeh wrote on Twitter.
“I would like to thank all the members today who chose their list for the next Knesset in a democratic way that respects the principles on which Balad was founded.
“We come out united behind the elected leadership to continue our path and build the project of [a state] for all its citizens,” he wrote.
"I would like to thank all the members today who chose their list for the next Knesset in a democratic way that respects the principles on which Balad was founded."Sami Abou Shahadeh