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Ben Gurion Starts Talks on Forming New Cabinet; Doubtful on Outcome

David Ben Gurion, in his capacity as Premier-designate, today embarked on an admittedly dubious effort to form a new Cabinet, as entrusted him yesterday by President Itzhak Ben Zvi.

He made a bid today to the National Religious Party to support a “minority Government”–comprised of the Mapai, Progressives and “neutral” Religious Ministers–until the November 3rd national elections, and was slated to meet later today also with leaders of the Agudah Party and with the Agudah Laborites. Tomorrow he will meet with the General Zionist leaders.

The leaders of the National Religious Party politely told Mr. Ben Gurion that they would not support the type of government he proposed. It was anticipated that the General Zionists would respond the same way. Mr. Ben Gurion will then report to the President on Monday or Tuesday that there is no other alternative for him but to remain with the present Cabinet as a caretaker government.

In a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Mr. Ben Gurion said today: “Although it is practically certain that I cannot form a new government which will obtain a confidence vote of the Parliament, I assumed the task entrusted to me by the President for two reasons First, because it is my duty to expose the shameful behavior of members of the Cabinet who refused to resign after violating collective responsibility of the government and continue to sit in Cabinet councils despite their obligation to quit; and, second, because I am legally bound to continue the responsibility to head the government until a new one is formed. “

Premier Ben Gurion was expected to return to his desk next Sunday, after breaking his indefinite leave announced ten days ago. It was reported today that he may even preside over Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, thus ending his personal boycott of the four “dissident ” Mapam and Achdut Avodah Ministers who voted in Parliament against the Government two weeks ago on the sale of Israel-made arms to West Germany.

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