TEL AVIV (May. 14)
The Labor Party leadership, constituted as an appointments committee, began the task today of interviewing aspirants for the Knesset on the Labor Party ticket.
The committee, consisting of party Chairman Shimon Peres, former Premier Yitzhak Rabin, party Secretary General Haim Barlev and former President Yitzhak Navon, met for 16 hours to receive delegations and individuals who explained why they or their proteges should be included on the Labor Party list in the July 23 elections. The petitioners were given no more than 15 minutes each to present their case.
The appointments committee will select 50 percent of the candidates. The rest will be chosen by local committees and various interest groups that make up the Labor constituency. The committee will then establish the order in which the candidates will appear on the party ticket.
They will be interspersed with candidates selected by Mapam and the other components of the Labor Alignment and the final list will be presented to the voters. Those nearest the top are assured of election.
Labor’s arch rival, Herut, completed its ticket last week in a complicated series of secret ballots. The Herut list will be combined with those of the Liberal Party and the other components of Likud. One of the latter, the small La’am faction, is already creating problems. Veteran MK Eliezer Shostak who is Minister of Health and Ehud Olmert, one of the young generation in Likud, are locked in a dispute over who really heads La’am.
At stake is the eighth spot on the Likud list, the highest allotted to La’am, which assures the candidate of election. It is claimed by both men. The La’am leadership selected Olmert by a 30-15 majority, but only after Shostak walked out of the faction meeting yesterday.
Shostak, who is 73 and has served in nine Knessets and two Cabinets, said his departure did not signify that he was yielding to the younger man. He said he left the meeting because the room was without air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the year.
POSSIBLE POSTS FOR NAVON AND EBAN
Meanwhile, Maariv reported today that Navon has agreed to accept the office of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in a Labor Cabinet headed by Peres. This was said to have been offered as compensation for not challenging Peres for party leadership. Navon is considered one of Labor’s top vote-getters.
There was no immediate reaction to the Maariv report from former Foreign Minister Abba Eban who was considered almost certain to be named Foreign Minister in the next Labor-led government. Politica observers believe he will be offered another senior Cabinet post should Labor win the elections.