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Ra’am set to deliver electoral slate in favor of joining next coalition

15 5 11

With most of the politicking completed behind the scenes, the decisions on Ra’am’s electoral list — to be made at a meeting of the Islamic Movement on Saturday — largely boil down to a dispute about just one seat.

In the idiosyncratic field of Israeli party primaries, Ra’am’s limited, internal contest on Saturday is just for the first four seats in its slate — of which three are unopposed returning Ra’am lawmakers: party chief Mansour Abbas, Walid Taha, and Iman Khatib-Yasin. The fifth seat is for an appointed Negev representative.

When the roughly 500 members of the general assembly of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement meet this weekend, they will be deciding on whether its key Negev seat will be filled by a loyalist to Abbas or the mayor of the south’s largest Bedouin city. The remainder of Ra’am’s slate for the November 1 election will be determined at a later date.

Favored candidate and Ra’am’s Knesset faction director, Waleed Alhawashla, worked hand-in-hand with Abbas to guide Ra’am through its first time in a government coalition over the past year, and is competing for the Negev-dedicated third slot against Rahat mayor Faiz Abu Sahiben. Abu Sahiben said the unsuccessful candidate will likely find himself placed into Ra’am’s fifth Knesset seat, possibly just shy of becoming a lawmaker.

Abu Sahiben told The Times of Israel that he is running to advocate for Bedouin interests.

“We want to get our rights,” he said.

Polling just around the electoral threshold of four seats, the Negev is a key area for Ra’am to conquer. Political analyst Ehab Jabareen estimated the area’s Arab voters can deliver up to two seats — although Jabareen thinks Ra’am will likely be battling for one.

Ra’am’s Negev success in the 2021 campaign was led in large part by the late Said al-Harumi, a well-respected Bedouin rights activist who entered Knesset last June on the slate he helped Ra’am to deliver, only to die of a heart attack in August.

“I believe that if........

© The Times of Israel

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