Labor Alignment Runs Almost Four Percent Behind in Histadrut Elections Compared to Showing in 1969

Nearly complete returns from yesterday’s Histadrut elections showed Premier Golda Meir’s Labor Alignment running 3.83 percentage points behind its returns in the last elections. With all but the soldiers’ and sailors’ votes counted out of about 800,000 cast, the Labor Alignment had 58.28 percent of the total compared to 62,11 percent four years ago.

The new National Liberal Front (Likud), an alignment of Gahal, the State List and Free Center, seeking votes for the first time as a bloc, scored 22.75 percent. It is a gain of .06 percent over the 22.69 percent won by those three factions running independently in the last elections.

The Religious Workers List won 4.50 percent, a gain of 1.44 points over the previous elections. The Independent Liberals, with 6.07 percent, ran 1.37 points ahead of their performance four years ago. The Rakah Communist faction had 1.99 percent, down .26 percent from 1969. A new left wing faction, Moked, which includes defectors from the Maki Communists, the party of the late Dr.Moshe Sneh, won 1.70 percent, down .09 percent from their last showing.

The Black Panthers, a loose coalition of poor Oriental Jews considered their 1.69 percentage a victory for their first participation in a Histadrut election. The Black Panthers made their most significant gains in some new immigrant townships and in Beersheba.

65% OF 1.1 MILLION ELIGIBLE VOTERS CAST BALLOTS

None of the remaining six factions participating in the Histadrut elections won as much as a single percentage point. About 65 percent of the 1.1 million eligible voters cast ballots at polling stations throughout Israel and the administered territories.

Yesterday’s election was for delegates to the 12th Histadrut Convention and is regarded by political observers as a preview of the Knesset elections to be held Oct. 29. If the results can be taken as a forecast of next month’s outcome. Premier Meir’s Labor Alignment has some hard campaigning to do in the next six weeks.

While a loss of less than four percentage points does not threaten the Alignment’s dominant position in the Israeli political arena, it represents an erosion that could make Mrs. Meir more dependent on other factions in building a new government coalition. The gain by the Religious Workers, albeit a small one, is considered significant. If repeated by the National Religious Party in the Knesset elections, that faction is likely to carry greater weight than heretofore as a coalition partner.

LIKUD WINS 27% IN HAIFA. WINS MITZPAH RIMON

Likud’s showing might have been better, observers said. They believe the image of the newly created non-Labor alignment was seriously marred by the turmoil surrounding its creation–the defection and later reversal by Shmuel Tamir of the Free Center. Nevertheless. Likud succeeded in capturing one settlement from the Labor Alignment. Mitzpah Rimon, in the Negev, gave it a majority, and for the first time in Israel’s history a non-Labor slate will head a local Labor Council.

Likud also won a surprising 27 percent in Haifa, a traditional stronghold of the Labor Party. While Labor scored 58.9 percent there, Likud’s capture of more than 25 percent of the vote now gives it the right to convene a session of the local Labor Council to discuss any issue it chooses. The Independent Liberals also gained in Haifa, scoring 7.8 percent, possibly at the expense of Labor.

Another significant development yesterday was defections to Moked in some Hashomer Hatzair and other kibbutzim. The shift to the far left faction was attributed to dissatisfaction with Mapam which is a partner in the Labor Alignment.

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