Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Saturday, May 15, 1999 Published at 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK

World: Middle East

Arab withdraws from Israel election

Bishara camp was under pressure from Labour to withdraw

Israel Elections Special Report
The only Arab in the race for the post of Israeli prime minister has withdrawn, boosting the election chances of opposition candidate Ehud Barak.

Azmi Bishara said he was withdrawing in order to help defeat incumbent prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Correspondent Hilary Andersson: "Mr Bishara is likely to have struck a deal"
The Arab candidate scored less than 3% in opinion polls but the votes of his supporters could give Labour leader Ehud Barak the 50% he needs to win the election in the first round of voting on Monday.

The former defence minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, meanwhile, has announced he will hold a news conference at 0830 GMT on Sunday.

The news increased speculation that he too might pull out.

Tactical withdrawals

[ image: Withdrawal a boost for Barak's candidacy]
Withdrawal a boost for Barak's candidacy
So far, Mr Mordechai, who commands about 4.6% in opinion polls, has resisted pressure from the anti-Netanyahu camp to withdraw to improve Mr Barak's chances.

It is thought Mr Bishara was seeking commitments from the opposition Labour Party to invest in Arab areas, which make up the most deprived and underdeveloped parts of Israel.

BBC Jerusalem Correspondent Hilary Andersson says the signs are that the gap is widening between the two front runners, with Mr Barak leading Netanyahu by 6% to 13% last week.

But Mr Barak's supporters believe his best chance of winning will come in the first round, and Mr Netanyahu's supporters say their man could well improve his position in the second round.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

12 May 99 | Israel elections
Putting Arabs on the map

14 May 99 | Middle East
Opposition leader ahead in opinion polls

16 May 99 | Israel elections
Special Report: Israel elections

Internet Links

The Likud (in Hebrew)

Israel Labour Party (in Hebrew)

The Gallup Organisation

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

Iraq oil-for-food aid extended

Israel demands soccer sex scandal inquiry

Israeli PM's plane in accident

Jordan police stop trades unionists prayers

New Israeli raid in southern Lebanon

New demand over PLO terror list

Earthquake hits Iran

New UN decision on Iraq approved

Algerian president pledges reform