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New Knesset to Elect Speaker at First Meeting Today

The ninth Knesset, convening tomorrow for the first time, will choose as its Speaker 61 year-old Yitzhak Shamir, a long-time friend of Likud leader Menachem Begin. Shamir is a relative newcomer to parliament having served only one term. But he ranks third in the hierarchy of Likud’s Herut wing, after Begin and Gen. Ezer Weizman.

The inaugural session of the new Knesset will be mainly ceremonial. President Ephraim Katzir will attend. Dr. Zerach Warhaftig of the National Religious Party (NRP) will have the honor of presiding over the session as the Knesset’s oldest member.

The quarrel between Likud and the Labor Alignment over seating arrangements in the new Knesset was settled last week in Likud’s favor. Likud and its coalition partners will occupy the left side of the chamber where the government parties traditionally have been seated. Labor and the other opposition factions will occupy the right side.

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