December 5, 2022

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Balad Party Appeals to the High Court about their Election Disqualification

3 min read

On Tuesday, the Arab Nationalist party filed its appeal to the High Court about overturning the decision of an election vetting panel that disqualified it from the upcoming election for the Knesset.

Balad also accused the National Unity Party of Defense Minister Benny Gantz about trying to prevent them from using their democratic right.

The Central Elections Committee’s panel had representatives of Gantz’s party who were told to vote to stop the faction from participating in the elections.

The appeal

Sami Abou Shahadeh, the chairman of Balad, said that the decision of the committee last week had been a ploy of Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Gantz to engineer leadership as per their preferences.

The party leader also added that he would continue with his faction’s political struggle. The Adalah human rights organizations helped Balad in filing the appeal.

The Central Elections Committee had voted against the party on Thursday when they accepted a petition from the Meretz party, which claimed that Balad’s platform negated against Israel’s existence.

A similar petition had been filed against the Ra’am party, claiming that it supported terror organizations. However, this request had not been accepted by the panel.

The past

Balad, along with a number of its lawmakers, have also been disqualified in the past by election panels, but they have managed to win each appeal to the Supreme Court and were reinstated.

Section 7A of Basic Law dictates that a party of a candidate can be disqualified on three conditions. First, they negate Israel’s existence as a democratic and Jewish state.

Second, they incite racism, or they support a terror organization or hostile state.

Polls indicate that Balad is not likely to cross the electoral threshold of 3.25% required for entering the Knesset.

If that happens, a significant number of Arab votes could be nullified, which could turn out to be key in the deadlock expected between the two rival political blocs.

The right-wing religious bloc would likely benefit from this, which is led by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The change

The political stakeholders had decided to reconsider their approach to the candidacy of Balad because of this possibility.

Previously, it was right-wing parties who had opposed Balad, but this time it was Gantz and Lapid who were accused by the party of engineering the scenario.

As far as the Likud party is concerned, they had decided to boycott the hearings of the Central Elections Committee on Balad and Ra’am.

As a matter of fact, the aprty had gone as far as calling it a ‘political circus’ and said that it was just aimed at harming the right-wing bloc.

In other news, Amichai Chikli, the ex-Yamina lawmaker, also filed an appeal to the High Court this week because he had also been disqualified from running in the election scheduled for November 1st.

Meanwhile, another ex-Yamina lawmaker, Idit Silman, received the greenlight in terms of participation.

Both of the hearings are scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon and will decide the fate of the Balad party and the renegade lawmaker.

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