Agreement on New Israel Cabinet Signed by Leading Parties

Representatives of the Mapai and General Zionist Parties today signed an agreement providing for the reconstitution of the coalition government. Agreement on the principles involved came late last night after a four-hour meeting called by Acting Premier Moshe Sharett and attended by four top leaders from each of the two parties. Immediately after the agreement was signed, Mr. Sharett re-opened contact with Progressive Party leaders looking toward that party’s return to the government.

It is understood that the agreement signed by the laborites and centrists provides that: both parties shall work for the inclusion of the other three parties now in the coalition–Progressives, Mizrachi and Poale Mizrachi–in the new Cabinet; a joint office of the Ministry of Trade and the Treasury shall be established to deal with import problems; and the new Cabinet will attempt to do away with foreign currency controls.

Also, that the election law be amended to provide that any party which obtains at least 4, 2 percent of the total vote in a national election, or is entitled to five seats in the Knesset, shall be represented in the Knesset — those who receive less shall forfeit their total representation; and that the General Zionists shall name the Deputy Minister of Education.

With the newest wording of the proposed electoral law amendment meaning that the small parties now in the government shall be able to maintain their Parliamentary status, it is expected that the Progressives will re-join the government. Mapai sources hope to see a final agreement on a stable government reached this week.

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