Arab parties fail to sign surplus vote-sharing agreements

Surplus vote-sharing agreements stipulate that after being allocated their number of seats in the Knesset, two parties may bring their votes together in an attempt to win one of the seats.

 COUNTING BALLOTS after the general elections, March 25, 2020. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
COUNTING BALLOTS after the general elections, March 25, 2020.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

None of the Arab parties, Hadash-Ta’al, Ra’am or Balad, signed surplus vote-sharing agreements as the deadline passed on Friday, potentially giving an edge to the right wing by likely wasting votes cast for the Left.

Surplus vote-sharing agreements stipulate that after being allocated their number of seats in the Knesset, two parties may pool their votes together in an attempt to win one of the "leftover" seats. Parties who sign agreements have higher chances of winning the seats.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Meretz leader Zehava Galon reportedly attempted to bring Hadash-Ta'al and Ra’am to sign, but failed. Both could be potential partners for Lapid. Hadash-Ta’al and Balad conducted negotiations on an agreement, but these did not prove successful.

The other deals were signed between Labor and Meretz, Yesh Atid and National Unity, Likud and Religious Zionist Party (RZP), and Shas and United Torah Judaism.

Who else didn't sign a deal?

Israel Elections: A polling station in Jerusalem, as Israelis vote in their general elections, on March 23, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)Israel Elections: A polling station in Jerusalem, as Israelis vote in their general elections, on March 23, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

Other than the Arab parties, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's Habayit Hayehudi also did not sign a deal. Shaked is currently polling under the electoral threshold.

"Why did we not sign a surplus vote-sharing agreement with any party?" Liberman wrote on Twitter. "Because Yisrael Beytenu is the only one that does not zigzag or blinks in promising to form a coalition without Bibi [opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu], Shas or UTJ, and to promote a free economy and a free country. We will continue to act in order to block a coalition with the wheeler-dealers of the haredi parties, which will not succeed in promoting any liberal value or a sharing of the burden."

Meretz on restarting peace talks with the Palestinian Authority

In other political news on Saturday, Meretz’s Galon said her party would condition its entry into a coalition on restarting peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

“The understanding that control of the Palestinians does not just harm them – [it] destabilizes our very being,” Galon said at a Shabbat cultural event in Kafr Manda. “If they do not have human rights, neither will we.”

“The plan by elements in the upcoming government to focus only on social issues and postpone the debate on the diplomatic front for four years, contradicts the vision of equality and peace,” she said.

“This is time that will be wasted, a time of casualties and bitterness on both sides. That may lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and the rise of extremist Islamic elements,” Galon said.