Ra’am Could Decide Next PM, or Maybe Not

YERUSHALAYIM -
Ra’am party chairman Mansur Abbas (R). (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A tiny Arab splinter party could decide who will lead the next government in another election which produces no clear majority for either the right or left, according to the latest poll on Sunday night.

The Islamist Ra’am party, which recently broke away from the Joint List, could use its four Knesset seats—assuming it clears the electoral threshold—to supply the needed votes for one side or the other to clinch the 61-MK majority.

The Channel 13 poll gives Likud 28 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 20, Yamina 11, New Hope 9, Joint List 8, Yisrael Beytenu 7, United Torah Judaism 7; Shas, Religious Zionism and Labor all with 6.

Populating the cellar: Meretz, Blue and White, and Ra’am, all of which pick up four seats.

Netanyahu’s Likud and the religious parties have 47 seats, which rises to 58 if Yamina joins. The “No Bibi” bloc also has 58 seats, without Yamina. In this scenario, Ra’am could be the tie-breaker.

However, it’s all completely speculative, as the pollsters themselves say, noting that 38 percent of respondents told them they may change their vote before election day. Among that group, 41% say they will make a final decision on election day, 33% say they will decide 24 hours before next week’s vote, and 26% say they’ll decide this week.

A separate poll, also released on Sunday, showed that 87% of Israeli Arab voters would be in favor of either joining the government, or supporting one from the outside, after the March 23 election.

The Tel Aviv University survey found that the most important issue for the Arab public is the implementation of a government plan to combat violence in the Arab sector, with 58.6% of respondents saying so.

The survey was conducted by the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, in conjunction with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. It was carried out by Stat-Net Research Institute under the direction of Yousef Makladeh and included 501 participants with a sample error of 4.4%.