Early Election Bid Rejected

The government easily defeated an opposition motion to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections. The 60-54 vote this evening come shortly after Premier Menachem Begin complained of feeling ill and was taken to Hadassah Hospital. The outcome was not unexpected inasmuch as the government was known to have secured a safe majority as a result of intensive lobbying among waverers over the weekend.

The motion, presented by the Shai faction, was backed by the labor Alignment and the various small leftist parties. It was also supported by former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, an independent MK and Samuel Flatto-Sharon, also an independent who usually supports the government. The entire coalition voted against it. There were four absentees: Interior Minister Yosef Burg of the National Religious Party who left for Washington yesterday for discussions on resuming the autonomy talks; Shlomo Eliahu who is also abroad. Meir Amit of Shai; and former Defense Minister Ezer Weizman of Herut. Weizman, a severe critic of the Begin government, said he was “going fishing.” There was one abstention and one MK did not participate.

Shmuel Toledano of Shai, who introduced the motion, contended that the government’s support in the Knesset did not truly reflect its position with the public where polls have shown the Likud-led regime to be totally discredited. Minister-Without-Portfolio Moshe Nissim replied for the government.

NEXT STORY