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Ben Gurion Starts Second Round of Talks on Formation of Cabinet

Circles close to Prime Minister-designate David Ben Gurion indicated today that he may abandon the task of forming a coalition government for Israel if he does not succeed in getting a workable coalition Cabinet within the next week or two in that event it was stated, Moshe Sharett, who now heads the caretaker government will empowered by President Itzhak Ben Zvi to form a Cabinet

Mr. Ben Gurion began today the second round of negotiations with the various parties on the subject of the coalition This time the talks are not of an exploratory nature but are rather, concerned with such practical matters as the number of Cabinet members each party would have and the distribution of portfolios among them. Achdut Avodah was the first party he saw today followed by the General Zionist representatives. His schedule calls for consultations with the Progressives tonight; Mizrachi-Hapoel Hamizrachi and Mapam tomorrow and Agudah-Poale Agudah, Tuesday. It is likely that Mr. Ben Gurion will report on the progress of his talks when he addresses the central committee of Mapai tomorrow nigh.

A General Zionist source revealed that its representatives would refuse to enter the Cabinet under “present conditions,” The source did not specify what other conditions would make entrance into the Cabinet acceptable to the centrist group. It was also understood that the Poalei Mizrachi representatives were not anxious to have Mapam partners in any Cabinet they might join. On the other hand, it was reported that Achdut Avoclah was prepared to enter the Cabinet, provided that it received the communications portfolio and the post of Vice-Minister of Defense. The latter post would be assigned by the party to Yigal Alon, party leader and one-time commander of Palmach.

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