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Labor-mapam Unit Votes to Continue National Unity Government on Basis of Old Platform

The supreme political committee of the Labor-Mapam Alignment voted yesterday eight to four to continue the Government of National Unity in the seventh Knesset on the basis of the outgoing Government’s platform. The committee also voted to have the right-wing Gahal, the main opposition party, which won 26 Knesset seats in the Oct. 28 election, represented in the Cabinet in proportion to its seats in the 120-member parliament.

Premier Golda Meir was expected to confer today with Menachem Beigin, leader of Gahal (Herut-Liberal Alignment) on the inclusion of his faction in the Cabinet. Gahal has demanded alterations in basic policy, presumably on the question of occupied territories which it says should be annexed. The rightists have also demanded a number of Cabinet posts; in the outgoing Government it has only two Ministers-Without-Portfolio.

The four members opposing the political committee proposal were two members of the Achdut Haavodah faction of the Labor Party, Agriculture Minister Haim Gvati and the Mapam representative. Later in a radio and television interview, veteran Mapam Leader Meir Yaari hinted that his party might not accept Alignment discipline on the matter. He said however that he would have to consult with his party.

The political committee elected a subcommittee to begin Cabinet-making negotiations with other parties, beginning with the National Religious Party which has picked up another seat in vote counting and now has 12–one more than in the outgoing Knesset. A measure of the importance the Labor Party attaches to bringing the NRP into a broad-based coalition was indicated yesterday by the Labor-Mapam Alignment’s acceptance of an NRP request to rescind an earlier Cabinet decision permitting television broadcasts on Friday evening. The supreme political committee was today to ask the State Broadcasting Authority to have television broadcasts on Friday afternoon instead of during Sabbath hours.

Almost all the votes have been counted–only a few from sailors are still outstanding–and it appears that the Labor-Mapam Alignment’s loss is seven seats; it had 63, an absolute majority in the outgoing Knesset and is now down to 56. Haolam Hazeh, formerly a one-man faction whose seat was occupied by publisher Uri Avneri, picked up a second seat. The Free Center, which had four seats and lost three, was given a second seat after soldiers’ votes were counted. The sailors’ votes were not expected to change the picture.

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