Mapai and Achdut Reach Agreement; Ben-gurion to Form ‘narrow Cabinet’

Mapai and the left-wing Achdut Avodah party reached agreement early today on the formation of a coalition cabinet which will enable Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to present for Knesset approval, a “small coalition” composed of the dominant Mapai party, Achdut Avodah, the National Religious party and Poale Agudat Israel. The four parties will command a slim majority in the Knesset,

Liberal party circles said today that their party would not join “a prepared Government and take portfolios that will be offered them.” Mapam leaders also indicated they would not join the projected coalition.

Agreement between Mapai and Achdut Avodah was reached after nearly two months of negotiations. The Mapai Secretariat will meet tomorrow evening to vote on approval of the agreement. The Mapai party apparently has no other recourse but to form the narrow coalition with little hope of either Mapam or the Liberals joining it at a later date.

The Mapam party, which has been going hand-in-hand with Achdut Avodah, has decided to enter-a Mapai-led Cabinet only if its major demands are complied with. These demands are–immediate abolition of Military Government and the conferring of such wide powers on the Parliamentary Security and Foreign Affairs Committee as would entitle it to overrule the Defense Ministry in certain cases.

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