Histadrut Elections Under Way

Polls will open throughout Israel and the administered territories Tuesday for the nation’s second most important elections–the selection of delegates to the 12th Histadrut Convention–which most observers regard as a preview of the Knesset elections to be held Oct. 29. There will be 3600 polling places in Israel proper and in the territories. Eligible voters number 1,159,852, an increase of 181,000 over the number of eligibles in the last Histadrut elections four years ago. The 13 election lists will be headed by Premier Golda Meir’s Labor Alignment–Labor Party and Mapam–which won 62.11 percent of the vote in 1969.

Its chief rival will be the three opposition factions that have formed a new non-Labor alignment–Likud–Gahal, the Free Center and the State List which amassed a combined total of 22.69 percent in the Histadrut elections four years ago. Despite the importance of the Histadrut elections–they will determine who controls Israel’s powerful Labor Federation and point to the probable outcome of the Knesset elections–the campaign has aroused relatively little public interest.

The two main contestants have been preoccupied with other problems. The Labor Alignment has been concentrating on its Knesset election platform embodying the controversial Dayan plan and Premier Meir entered the Histadrut campaign only last week. Gahal and its partners have been working frantically to create their non-Labor alignment which almost perished before it was born. The Histadrut voting will be the first in which Likud comes before the electorate and its showing may indicate whether the new right-of-center faction is a serious threat to the Meir alignment or a dud.

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