On Friday, the leader of Balad, Sami Abu Shehadeh, said that his party might not appeal the decision of the Central Elections Committee, which disqualified it from running in the elections in November.
The Arab nationalist party leader said that they may effectively boycott voting altogether because he said that the decision had been a ‘political’ one and party members would meet later in the day to make a decision.
This is certainly not the first time that this is happening because Balad, as well as a number of its lawmakers, have been disqualified by election panels previously as well.
They appealed to the High Court when this happened and managed to win each one of them and got reinstated, but the party could adopt a different course this time around.
He said that the party would have a meeting later on Friday to decide what to do. He added that there were some members who preferred to boycott the elections altogether instead of appealing the decision.
Abu Shehadeh said that there was a serious debate ongoing about this matter due to which they had convened an emergency meeting to come to a decision.
He said that they would take the implications of their decision into consideration. As for his own position as the leader, he said that he was in favor of boycotting the elections altogether.
Talking about the Central Elections Committee, the Balad party leader said that instead of being a legal or professional decision, theirs had been a political decision.
He went on to say that the committee just wants to engineer a more popular Arab leadership, so they have divided the parties into extremists and moderates.
He also directed some criticism towards Benny Gantz, the Defense Minister, as his National Unity Party had also voted for disqualifying Balad from the elections.
Speaking of Thursday’s vote, he said that the debate had not been a legal one and the quarrel was simply between the far-right and right about who is more extreme.
The decision from Gantz had also been political because he wants to get more votes from the right. He added that being more right-wing means hating Arabs more.
Balad is not expected to enter the next Knesset because it is unlikely to cross the electoral threshold.
However, if it does not, then it would burn a substantial number of Arab votes that would come its way , which means that it could have an important role in the tight electoral math that is expected between blocs.
Therefore, this possibility had driven a number of political stakeholders to reconsider their stance when it comes to the candidacy of the Balad party.
The hearings of the Central Elections Committee on Balad and Ra’am were boycotted by the Likud party, as it said that this was just a ‘political circus’ aimed at damaging the right-wing bloc.
Previously, the Likud party has petitioned both the High Court and the Central Elections Committee for disqualifying Balad.