Arab Joint List holds last-minute vote on whether to back Gantz

Joint List to vote Sunday afternoon on whether to back Gantz for PM, guaranteeing him edge over the Likud.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Joint List and Hadash leader Ayman Odeh
Joint List and Hadash leader Ayman Odeh
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The predominantly Arab Joint List party will vote Sunday afternoon on whether to recommend Blue and White chief Benny Gantz as Prime Minister, after a meeting of party officials earlier on Sunday failed to resolve an ongoing dispute within the party.

Leaders of the Joint List - which is made up of four independent factions including the United Arab List, Hadash, Ta’al, and Balad – failed to reach a decision during their meeting Sunday afternoon, just hours before they are slated to meet with President Reuven Rivlin, who is currently polling party leaders to see which candidates each faction is prepared to back for the premiership.

Incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose Likud party is expected to receive 31 seats when the final results for last week’s election are submitted this Wednesday to the president, has the support of just 55 MKs-elect; six short of the 61-seat majority needed to rule.

Benny Gantz, chief of the center-left Blue and White party, is expected to receive the backing of 44 MKs from the Left, far short of a majority. But if the Joint List party recommends Gantz to Rivlin Sunday, the Blue and White chairman would exceed the Likud’s 55 seats, with a total of 57 MKs recommending him, likely ensuring that Gantz is given the first opportunity to try to form a majority government.

Joint List chairman and Hadash faction chief Ayman Odeh supports recommending Gantz, but faces opposition from other factions within the Joint List. The two-hour meeting between leaders of the four factions ended without a final decision, following staunch opposition from the Balad faction to the idea of recommending Gantz, Maariv reported.

Faction members are expected to vote Sunday afternoon on the issue, resolving the matter before Joint List representatives meet with President Rivlin to offer their recommendations for prime minister.