Zoabi to contest the Nazareth mayoralty race 29Aug13 August 29, 2013

Haaretz    -    28 August 2013

3699216288Balad MK Haneen Zoabi is expected to announce her candidacy for mayor of Nazareth at a press conference on Wednesday morning. She will run at the head of a local Balad list.

The announcement will follow weeks during which her name repeatedly came up as a potential candidate in the local elections, scheduled for October 22. While the party has always run a list for city council, Zoabi and the party deliberated whether to field a mayoral candidate, given that the Arab city of 80,000 is considered a Hadash stronghold.

Sources in Balad told Haaretz that Zoabi decided in favor after consultations and internal polls indicated a race against incumbent Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy would be close.

“Balad is counting on the election not being decided in the first round, due to a multiplicity of candidates,” a Balad activist said. “In that event, they will go into the second round organizing the entire opposition against Jaraisy,”

Jaraisy, who has been mayor since 1994, announced this week that he would seek another term, despite having said for months that he wouldn’t run again. Jaraisy changed his mind after considerable pressure was brought to bear by both local and national Hadash party officials, who argued there was no other candidate who could assure the party a victory.

Jaraisy’s deputy, Ali Salam, is running for mayor at the head of an independent list he formed months ago, while the Islamic Movement is trying to unite its forces behind a candidate to improve its chances. In the last elections, internal divisions led to a poor showing in the local balloting.

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