TEL AVIV (Jun. 6)
Likud and the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) will resume their coalition talks tomorrow. The session is regarded by political observers as the crucial one which will determine whether or not the DMC enters a Likud-led government.
The agenda calls for the nomination of committees of both parties to draft a joint document setting forth the guidelines of a Likud-DMC partnership, provided that agreement is reached tomorrow on most basic political and security issues. These include appointments to various government posts, including Cabinet ministers. Likud already has eased up on its hard line approach to the West Bank. Begin promised the DMC that his government would not impose Israeli laws in the administered territories and that no new settlements would be established on the West Bank without the government’s approval Likud and the DMC met twice last week.
Begin made the point that his government could take decisions on the basis of a simple majority but that he preferred a consensus. Asked by DMC leader Yigal Yadin whether that would be a binding principle of the new government, Begin appeared to agree. But other participants in the talks said that while consensus would be sought on crucial problems there could be no binding principle that allowed each Cabinet minister the power to veto a decision.
Cautious optimism was expressed in some quarters today that the DMC will join a Likud-led coalition, if not immediately then at some stage after a new government is formed. The party appears to be split between those who want to join now, those totally opposed to a partnership with Likud and those who want to wait until all issues are clarified.
KATZIR TO SUMMON BEGIN
President Ephraim Katzir is expected to summon Begin tomorrow to ask him to form the next government. The Likud leader will have 21 days to accomplish the task plus another 21-day extension if needed. Begin is said to be very anxious to put together a government as quickly as possible. He is in a position to do so in partnership with the National Religious Party (NRP) and the ultra-Orthodox Aguda bloc. But such a coalition would have a slim voting majority of 62 seats in the Knesset, would not reflect a broad consensus in Israel and, according to some observers, would be in a weak position when Begin visits Washington for talks with President Carter.
If the DMC joins, the government would have a comfortable 77-seat margin in the Knesset and would reflect a much wider political spectrum. One of the outstanding issues is Begin’s nomination of Moshe Dayan to be Foreign Minister, a portfolio sought by the DMC. Although Likud has left the matter open for negotiation, it is assumed that in the end Begin will have his way.