Two Left-wing Parties May Join Israel’s New Coalition Cabinet

The Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, did not hold its session today in order to enable the leaders of the political parties to continue their negotiations for joining the new Cabinet which Premier David Ben-Gurion will present to the Knesset tomorrow. The postponement of today’s session followed indications that the two left-wing labor parties–Mapam and Achdut Avodah–may at the last minute join the coalition Cabinet.

Mapai negotiators met again today with leaders of Mapam and Achdut Avodah and reportedly reached a last-minute agreement on a compromise formula to bring the two parties into the new coalition Cabinet.

The new Cabinet of Mapal, the Progressives and the National Religious party was worked out over the week-end and scheduled for presentation to the Knesset for a vote of confidence today. Mr. Ben-Gurion’s continuing cold, however, brought postponement of the presentation and the lag was seized as an opportunity for renewed negotiations with the two left-wing parties.

The question at issue was Mr. Ben-Gurion’s contention that the Premier had the right to dismiss Ministers voting in the Knesset against Government motions, as well as Ministers whose parties’ deputies voted against Government motions. Abstentions from voting are permitted on matters of principle and conscience.

Under the compromise, a Cabinet Minister’s vote against a Government motion will be considered as automatically creating his resignation. The resignation would become effective by announcement by the Premier in Knesset, which would not be subject to ebate or to a vote. The formula required formal approval by the governing bodies of the three parties but this was considered certain. Several portfolios were left open in the new coalition for the two left-wing parties.

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