JERUSALEM (Jan. 4)
President Ephraim Katzir met with Premier Yitzhak Rabin for less than an hour this morning and asked him to form a caretaker government to govern Israel until elections next May. The request was little more than a formality. The Knesset is expected to officially approve an early election date and vote to dissolve itself long before expiration of the 21-day period within which Rabin must select a new Cabinet. Under the law, the existing government automatically becomes the caretaker regime once the Knesset is dissolved.
Following the meeting at the President’s residence, Katzir said he had acted according to the law which required him to consult with representatives of all Knesset factions on the formation of a new government after the Rabin government resigned last month. He said that “after consultations” he had decided to ask MK Rabin to form a new government.
Rabin thanked Katzir and said he would try to assemble a government that would win the confidence of the Knesset. He noted at the same time that all factions support the dissolution of the present Knesset and early elections. Several bills to that effect are under consideration by the Knesset’s committee on law and constitution and the adoption of one or more is virtually certain. The Knesset is expected to select May 17 as election day. That date has been agreed to by the Labor Alignment and Likud, the two largest parties.