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Dmc, Likud Negotiations Resume

Negotiations have resumed between Prof. Yigael Yadin’s Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) and the three coalition partners in the Likud-led government to determine whether any basis exists for the DMC to join the coalition. So far the parties appear to have summed up their points of agreement and their outstanding differences. But as the issues were narrowed the chances that Premier Menachem Begin will be able to increase his slim Knesset margin with the DMC’s 15 seats seemed to grow more remote.

The talks will continue through tomorrow and on Wednesday the DMC’s Central Committee will be asked to act on Yadin’s recommendation. It is not yet known whether he will recommend joining or remaining outside the government.

THREE MAJOR OBSTACLES

There are three major obstacles: the DMC’s demand for electoral reforms; the question of Cabinet portfolios for the DMC and the concessions Begin made on religious matters to the National Religious Party (NRP) and the Aguda bloc to which the DMC firmly refuses to adhere. The Aguda, a small faction, is fearful that it would disappear from the political scene if the DMC’s proposal for direct elections of at least part of the Knesset ever materializes.

With respect to Cabinet posts, the DMC has been offered the Ministry of Social Betterment–a new portfolio–but insists that this must encompass the Ministry of Health as well which is already occupied by a Likud man, Eliezer Shostak. He is not considered likely to give it up.

The religious issue is by far the most serious. The Aguda and NRP demand that the DMC agree to vote with the coalition on all religious matters, including the controversial amendment to the Law of Return. The DMC insists on retaining freedom to vote as it chooses on religious matters, noting that it was not a party to the agreement reached between Begin and his Orthodox partners.

Meanwhile, there is considerable division with in the DMC, a party founded only last year made up of disillusioned Laborites and others whose politics run the gamut from left to right. Amnon Rubinstein, leader of the DMC’s Lashinooy (For Change) faction who is the party’s No. 2 man, is opposed to joining the coalition and has told Yadin he would not serve as a minister in a Likud Cabinet. Yadin reportedly replied that it was too early to speak of ministerial posts since it is far from certain that the DMC will enter the government.

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