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Backgrounder on Premiership Rotation

The rotation of power next month affects only Premier Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who are scheduled to exchange jobs. The rest of the Labor-Likud Cabinet will remain intact with each Minister retaining his present portfolio, unless some Ministers balk.

The rotation is part of the Labor-Likud unity coalition agreement reached in 1984. It will be carried out according to law which requires the entire Cabinet to resign along with the Prime Minister. The basic formalities will be observed.

Peres will submit his resignation. President Chaim Herzog will go through the statutory consultations with all coalition parties. The latter will ritually recommend that Shamir become Prime Minister and Herzog will ask him formally to take office.

Shamir will appoint a government identical to the existing one, apart from his exchange with Peres. Some changes are possible. Health Minister Mordechai Gur and Gad Yaacobi, Minister of Economics and Planning, both Laborites, have intimated they would not serve under Shamir. Should they leave the Cabinet, Shamir, in consultation with Peres, would propose successors.

On the Likud side, some Ministers want Yitzhak Modai to be re-appointed Finance Minister, a portfolio he was forced to give up earlier this year in an altercation with Peres. Labor objects to this. Modai is presently Minister of Justice, having exchanged portfolios with Moshe Nissim.

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