Jerusalem (Jun. 14)
The National Council of the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) decided overwhelmingly last night not to join a Likud-led coalition government under the present circumstances. The vote was 79-2 to break off the current negotiations with Likud. But the Council authorized the party’s Secretariat and its Knesset faction to consider resuming talks when and if new conditions emerge.
Simcha Ehrlich, Likud’s number two man, said after learning of the DMC’s decision, that it did not close the door on negotiations. He said he would propose that talks be resumed forthwith. But Likud leader Menachem Begin indicated last night that he would present his government to the Knesset next Monday. He quoted the late Winston Churchill who said that in a democracy a majority of one is sufficient. Begin will control 63 Knesset seats, a bare majority.
CALLS LIKUD INTRANSIGENT
The vote by the DMC National Council showed that it stood firmly behind party leader Yigael Yadin who participated in most of the coalition talks with Likud over the past two weeks and had a 90-minute meeting with Begin on Sunday. Yadin said last night that Likud was intransigent on political issues. It rejected all proposals to bridge the gap between the DMC’s readiness for territorial compromises in exchange for peace and Likud’s refusal to consider withdrawal from any part of the West Bank, Yadin said. He said the DMC supported Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria when they were justified by security requirements but it could not, under any circumstances, accept the Likud formula allowing Jewish settlements anywhere in those regions.
DMC MK Amnon Rubinstein said his party would have had absolutely no influence in a Likudled coalition under the conditions offered by Begin. He predicted that the Likud government would not survive for long.
The slim Likud majority will be composed of 45 of its own Knesset seats, 12 of the National Religious Party (NRP), four of the Agudat Israel and one of the Poole Agudat Israel. In addition, Likud will be able to count on the seat of Moshe Dayan who defected from the Labor Party last month after. Begin nominated him for the post of Foreign Minister.
MINISTRIES LEFT OPEN
Likud apparently has hopes that the DMC may join its government at a later stage and will leave three ministries open in that event. They are the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Housing, none of them key Cabinet posts, Likud has yet to decide whether to fill them with temporary ministers or leave them in the hands of deputy ministers for the time being.
Meanwhile, Leon Dulzin of Likud’s Liberal Party wing, announced that in view of the DMC decision he is once more a candidate for the post of Deputy Premier. Dulzin withdrew his name last week in order to leave that office open for Yadin. Dulzin also expects to become Minister of Commerce and Industry in the new regime.