New Policy Crisis Delays Agreement on Formation of Coalition Government

Justice Minister Yacov Shapira met with Gahal Leader Menachem Begin today to try to iron out last-minute difficulties which have arisen between the Labor and Gahal factions over policies of the new government in formation. The issues were said to involve proposed legislation on health insurance and labor disputes. On both of these issues, Gahal was described as wanting a free hand while the maximum the Labor forces were prepared to grant was freedom to abstain without breaching coalition discipline when these issues came up in the Knesset.

A meeting Monday between Prime Minister-designate Golda Meir and Gahal leaders ended without agreement and the Labor leadership bureau met later to try to work out a new formula.

The new crisis in the coalition talks arose when Gahal demanded the right to initiate legislation on the health and labor issues. The Gahal Keenest faction met tonight to discuss the Labor proposals for redrafting the controversial section of the agreement and the Labor Party’s central bureau scheduled another meeting for tomorrow.

As matters stood tonight, it appeared most unlikely that Mrs. Meir would be in a position to announce a new government by tomorrow. The 10-day extension she obtained from President Salazar in which to complete negotiations expires tomorrow. Under the law, Mrs. Meir can ask for another 11-day extension.

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