Meretz Considering Joint Run With Arab Party

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel arabs
MK Ayman Odeh. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

Far-left party Meretz is considering an election run with the Hadash-Ta’al list, headed by MK Ayman Odeh. The party has suspended any decisions on changes to its list prior to the upcoming September elections in order to consider the possible joint run, Ha’aretz reported Wednesday.

According to the party’s constitution, primaries must be held before a party list is presented for any election campaign. The party’s constitutional committee can override that, however, and Ha’aretz reported that the committee would meet in the coming days in order to freeze the list as is, so that Meretz figures currently on the list could be integrated into the Hadash-Ta’al list. Party head Tamar Zandberg is said to be in favor of the idea, the report said, but added that there was substantial opposition to the idea, with opponents preferring new primaries so that a new party head could be selected.

Meretz got four seats in the April election, while Hadash-Ta’al recieved six, with the former squeaking through the electoral threshold. There is concern in both parties that they may be left out altogether in the event of new elections. Hadash – the former Israeli Communist Party – and Ta’al are considered secular lists, and often vote with Meretz on issues.

It’s not clear what such a move would do to the chances of Meretz joining a coalition of any type. If the next government is formed by either Binyamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz it is unlikely either of them would include a figure such as Odeh in the coalition. As party head he would have the first opportunity for a ministry, but it is considered unlikely that Benny Gantz would include him as a minister.

Last week, Labor head Avi Gabay floated the idea of a joint run between Labor and Meretz. “We need to cut down the number of parties on the center-left,” Gabay said. “There need to be three parties instead of five.”