TEL AVIV (Jul. 7)
The Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) voted 14-6 with three abstentions last night to reopen coalition talks with Likud. The decision by the party’s Executive and Knesset faction was taken after DMC leader Yigael Yadin reported on the results of the informal meetings he has had over the past two weeks with Likud and National Religious Party (NRP) leaders.
Yadin made it clear that the decision to resume negotiations did not mean that the DMC was joining the Likud-led coalition government. He said that clarifications were still needed on key issues such as territorial compromise, new settlements in the administered territories and the DMC’s insistence on electoral reforms.
Yadin was reportedly given certain promises on those matters. Members of the DMC’s “Lashinoy” faction headed by Prof. Amnon Rubinstein voted against resuming talks with Likud. But a majority agreed with former Laborite Meir Amit who said that it was in the national interest to reopen negotiations on the eve of Premier Menachem Begin’s visit to Washington.
Yadin was reportedly promised that the DMC would be able to raise objections to any new settlements with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; that it would have freedom of expression on foreign policy matters and that agreement would be sought on electoral reforms. When the DMC-Likud talks broke off last month, the DMC stated they would be resumed only if conditions were altered. The DMC’s poor showing in the Histadrut elections of June 21 which deprived it of a pivotal role in the trade union federation was seen by some observers as the condition that made it more amenable to talks with Likud.