Tel Aviv (Apr. 8)
The Labor Party, which won 63.6 percent of the votes cast in yesterday’s Histadrut elections, hailed its impressive victory today as a precursor of the results of the Knesset elections to be held June 30. But Likud also claimed victory although it polled only 25.8 percent of the votes, down 2.3 percent from its showing in the last Histadrut elections four years ago.
The returns announced this morning were incomplete and the final results will be known only after the ballots cast by soldiers and others in transit are counted, probably not until next week.
Likud based its claim of victory, and predicted triumph on June 30 on the basis of the lower than usual voter turnout yesterday. Only about 58 percent of the 1.5 million eligible voters bothered to cast ballots in the contest for leadership of the trade union federation.
Likud spokesman contended this was significant because Labor had made an all-out effort to bring out the vote. They said those who stayed away from the polls plus non-members of Histadrut would help Likud to victory in June. Labor spokesmen exuded confidence in a June victory on the basis of the 6.5 percent gain by the Labor slate yesterday compared to the 1977 Histadrut election results, while Likud registered a loss.
Many politicians consider the quadrennial trade union elections a dress rehearsal for the Knesset contest. Some said yesterday that if Likud could maintain or increase its 1977 standing in the Labordominated Histadrut it stood a good chance of defeating Labor in June. This did not materialize but some experts were saying today that no direct comparison can be drawn between the Histradrut and the Knesset elections because in the former, the majority of voters are Labor supporters and the issues are different.