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Israel Cabinet Seeks Four-year Term for Present Parliament; Faces Opposition

The Israel parliament today referred to its legal committee the bill submitted by the Cabinet fixing the term of the present parliament at four years and providing that the next parliamentary elections be held in January, 1953.

The issue has now become one of the most controversial in the country, in view of the fact that the General Zionist Party, which emerged with heavy gains in the municipal elections on Tuesday, is now demanding immediate parliamentary elections. This demand is being supported by the right-wing Herut Party and by the left-wing Socialist Mapam Party. All of these three groups are not represented in the present Cabinet.

The entire press in Israel today acknowledges the fact that Tuesday’s municipal elections represent a marked swing to the right and put the General Zionists in second place behind Mapai, Israel’s moderate Socialist party. Although final election tallies are not yet available, the Hebrew papers agree that Premier David Ben Gurion’s Mapai party lost ground in all important urban centers while the centrist General Zionists scored sweeping gains.

On the whole, the Israel newspaper agree that national elections should be held to select a new parliament. Davar, however, stated that a nationwide ballot “may differ radically from the municipal elections, since only about 400,000 persons went to the polls on Tuesday, while double that number would vote in a general election, possibly with quite different results.”

Official results of the municipal elections in Tel Aviv were announced here last night. The General Zionists won 31 percent of the votes, the Mapai received 23 percent; Herut, 14; Mapam, 10; Hapoel Hamizrachi, four; Agudas Israel, three; Progressives, three; Communist, two; Mizrachi, two; Yemenites, two; Landlords, Sephardim, and Artisans, 0.7 each.

In Rishon leZion the General Zionists scored 30 percent; Mapai, 23; Mapam, 15; Herut, nine; Poale Agudas Israel, seven; Yemenites and Poale Mizrachi, five each; Communists, three; Progressives, two.

Al Hamishar, organ of the left-wing Socialist Party, Mapam, publishes a comprehensive tabulation of the voting which showed that Mapam won 11.6 percent of the ballots as compared with 10.6 in the 1949 parliamentary elections. The tabulation also shows that the General Zionists polled 25.2 percent of the ballots, as compared with 7.3 in the national elections. According to the same table, all other parties “lost more or less heavily,” to wit–Mapai dropped from 37.2 to 26.9; Herut from 15.4 to 10.5 Religious Bloc from 15.4 to 12.8; Progressives from 5.5 to 4; Communists from 2.6 to 2.4.

Haaretz, independent General Zionist newspaper, declared today that the “General Zionists are the second party in the state” and urged the holding of new national elections Davar, the Mapai newspaper, ran a banner stating that the “municipal elections produced a right-wing concentration,” while Haboker, official General Zionist organ, printed a page one streamer announcing the “decisive victory for General Zionists in local elections.”

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