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