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Arab parties Hadash and Balad reelect Bishara, Barakeh (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Yair Ettinger, Ha´aretz Correspondent and Ha´aretz Service 11/30/02 19:20)Source: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=236236&contrassID=1&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=0 HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
MK Dr. Azmi Bishara was reelected to head the Balad (National Democratic Alliance) party, and MK Mohammed Barkeh was reelected to head the Hadash party in primaries held by both Arab parties to select their candidates for the Knesset.

In the elections held in A´avlin, in the lower Galilee, some 400 members of the Hadash central committee selected the first six candidates to appear on the left-wing party´s list of candidates. Polls indicate that Hadash will not increase its current number of three Knesset members in the January 28 general election, and may even decrease.

MK Issam Makhoul won the second slot in the candidates list. Tel Aviv lawyer Dov Chenin won the third slot, after competing for it against the chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Shawqi Khatib, who announced his candidacy on Thursday, a day after Tamar Gozansky announced her decision to retire from the Knesset.

Khatib is the first chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee to seek a Knesset seat in the 20-year history of the advocacy organization for Israel´s Arab minority. "My race for the Knesset is not the precedent," Khatib told Ha´aretz on Thursday. "The precedent was my selection as chairman of the Monitoring Committee despite my clear political identity."

Khatib, who also chairs the council of Arab local authority leaders, has been considering a Knesset bid for some time and signed up for the race just before the Wednesday night deadline.

Hadash activists said Thursday that they expect a close race between Khatib and Chenin for the third slot on the party list. Khatib enjoys prestige as the chairman of the Monitoring Committee, while Chenin is a central figure in both Hadash and Israel´s Communist Party (Maki), which is the dominant component in Hadash.

MK Bishara was elected to head the Balad Knesset list after his victory was secured due to the fact that his leadership is undisputed. Dr. Jamal Zhalka, a resident of Kafr Kara and one of Balad´s founders, was elected for the second slot on the list. Riad Anis from Umm al Fahm also competed for the second slot.

The elections for the Balad and Hadash Knesset candidate lists are the opening shot for the negotiations to unite the Arab lists. MK Ahmed Tibi, the chairman of Ta´al (Arab Movement for Renewal) hopes to reach a unity agreement with Hadash or Ra´am, while MK Mohammed Kanan, the chairman of the United Arab List, announced Friday that he was also holding negotiations with Ra´am. (© Copyright 2002 Ha´aretz 11/30/02)

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