JERUSALEM (Jan. 26)
A last minute deal with the Tami party to ensure its support of the government against opposition non-confidence motions in the Knesset yesterday, is having repercussions that threaten the stability of Premier Yitzhak Shamir’s Likud-led coalition government.
The motions were defeated by a comfortable 62-56 vote. Tami backed the government but only after it obtained an 11th hour commitment from Finance Minister Yigal Cohen-Orgad to increase child care allowances, raise the income tax threshold for poor families and present a bill in the Knesset for a minimum wage law.
These promises were made in writing. Tami demands that the minimum wage law be acted on in two weeks and that higher allowances for child care be paid, beginning in April. Treasury sources said last night, shortly after the Knesset vote, that it was impossible to meet those demands.
Education Minister Zevulun Hammer said Wednesday that he would not agree to any cuts in the education budget if the Tami-controlled Ministry of Labor and Welfare has its budget increased. The government is desparately trying to slash expenditures in order to deal with the economic crisis. Cohen-Orgad himself said only a few days ago that the cost of Tami’s demands would negate proposed cuts in the welfare budget.
The possibility of a new crisis within the coalition prompted Deputy Premier David Levy to remark yesterday that the government could not last much longer with a constant threat to its stability. He said he would support early elections if the coalition’s survival is in doubt. At the same time, be dismissed the idea of an alternative coalition headed by the Labor Alignment as “an illusion.”
LABOR CALLS FOR EARLY ELECTIONS
Labor continued to call for early elections today. A statement issued by the party said yesterday’s Knesset debate over the economy demonstrated that the Shamir government is incapable of functioning properly. But Labor Party sources conceded that, in light of yesterday’s defeat, there is little chance of bringing down the government by parliamentary means.
Two Labor MKs, Shlomo Hillel and Aharon Nahmias sent a letter to party chairman Shimon Peres objecting to Labor attempts to woo Tami away from the Likud coalition by promising its leaders top positions in Histadrut.
Meanwhile, the newly formed public movement “to save the economy” has urged all parties to get together to form a national unity government. The movement is headed by former Finance Minister Yigael Hurwitz. Other members include former MKs Zalman Shoval and Stef Wertheimer and Avraham Sochami. Wertheimer and Sochami are prominent industrialists.