Formation of Israel Cabinet Hampered by New Complications

The formation of a new Israel Cabinet, expected momentarily for the past week, hit a new snag today with the result that the government may not be formed this week.

In view of the new complications, Premier David Ben Gurion today indicated that if a new coalition government is not set up this week he will ask for a leave rather than resign as he had planned to do. A scheduled four-sided meeting among representatives of the Mapai, General Zionists, Mapam and Poale Mizrachi did not take place today when the centrist General Zionists failed to attend the session, claiming that the talks were “useless.” There was considerable confusion here over this development, even among the various negotiating groups.

Meanwhile, Mapai negotiators met separately with left-wing Mapam leaders and with Labor Mizrachi representatives. The Mapai-Mapam negotiations came to naught, with the leftists demanding the formation of a new government coalition of the labor parties which could be joined by other parties if they accepted the joint labor program. The Mapai insisted on retention of the present coalition with the Mapam, if it chooses, entering that and accepting its program. The two groups will report back to their respective parties.

The Progressives once again announced that they would not remain in the government unless the Mapai and the General Zionists abandoned their decision to sponsor legislation to restrict Knesset membership to parties which obtain at least 10 percent of the total vote in national elections. There was no indication when the major partners in the present coalition would meet again to settle their conflicting demands.

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