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Knesset Approves Formal Bill Calling for Election in July

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A formal bill calling for elections to be held on July 23 was rushed through its required three readings in the Knesset today. It was passed unanimously by the 40 members present, in contrast to the drama and tension late last month when the Knesset voted 61-58 to hold early elections.

The only hitch that developed today was a protest by the religious parties that holding elections on a Monday would desecrate the preceding Sabbath. They were mollified when the Knesset agreed to ban election campaigning until one hour after termination of the Sabbath. The house also voted to reduce from 100 to 66 days the period before elections during which civil servants and military officers must submit their resignations if they wish to run for political office. The change applies only to the upcoming elections which will be held more than a year before the present government’s term officially expires.

In preparations for the election campaign, members of the Knesset Finance Committee today voted hefty increases in government funding for each of the parties. Economic experts estimated that the campaign will cost Israeli taxpayers about two billion Shekels, reflecting the rise in inflation since the last elections in 1981.

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