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Mapai Leaders Debating Composition of New Government Coalition

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Premier-designate David Ben-Gurion met today with Mapai Party policy-makers to review the first round of coalition talks and to decide whether to work on establishment of a small coalition composed of the Mapai, Progressive, General Zionist and Agudist parties, or to seek a broad coalition including possibly all parties except Herut and the Communists.

Mr. Ben-Gurion was said to favor the small coalition idea but other Mapai leaders, including Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, were said to be insistent on a broad coalition, even if this involved protracted negotiations. If a small coalition is set up, it was reported, several portfolios would be left open for representatives of the Mapam and Achdut Avodah in the belief that these two labor parties would enter the coalition later.

Despite denials today by Agudist officials, the belief persisted in a Mapai-Agudist agreement for a coalition in the Jerusalem Municipal Council that would permit Mapai to retain the mayoralty and give the Agudists a deputy mayorship and concessions on some of their demands.

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