Preliminary Results Show Labor Won Slightly More Seats Than Likud

Based on samples of voting from 30 “dummy” polling booths throughout Israel, the projected vote as Israel’s polling booths closed at 10 p.m. (Israel time) tonight was 48 to 49 seats for Shimon Peres’ Labor Party, and 47 for Premier Menachem Begin’s governing Likud coalition.

But most commentators said that, if the projections remain unchanged when the official vote counting is completed, the Labor Party probably will not be able to form a new coalition government but Likud may just be able to form a narrow coalition which they said would be highly unstable.

The speculation on a continued Likud government was that Begin might be able to form a slender coalition with the religious parties, plus former Foreign and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s Telem, which won one vote; and Geula Cohen’s Tehiya, which won two seats.

The Telem and the Tehiya lists would not give much stability to a new Likud coalition because Dayan and Cohen do not support Begin on all issues, the observers said.

The immediate commentators’ reaction is that Peres cannot form a coalition and Begin can form only a very unstable coalition and that Israel may therefore face new elections within a few months.

Based on the projected results, the National Religious party won six seats, a sharp drop; Agudath Israel, five seats, Poalei Agudath Israel won one; Shinui won one seat; the Rakah Communists won between four and five seats; Aharon Abu Hotzeira’s Tami list won two; the Shulamith Aloni’s Civil Rights party won one seat. Sheli may have won one seat.

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