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Labor Delays Try for Early Elections

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Labor leaders declared Thursday they would wait with their attempt to call for early elections until after the summer recess in October.

This was an apparent change from earlier indications that Labor would try to obtain a Knesset majority for early elections before the House recessed next Wednesday.

Labor leaders denied allegations by the Likud that they changed their mind because they realized that they could not secure the majority. Moreover, they insisted that they now had the support of 61 Knesset members.

So far, 60 MKs are known to support the move — the 59 members of the Labor bloc, plus one Shas MK who announced Wednesday he would join the initiative because he was disenchanted with the Likud’s failure to keep its commitments on religious issues. It was not known Thursday who the 61st MK is — and Labor refused to identify the person.

Labor leaders met Thursday with leaders of their partners in the bloc — Shinui, Citizens Rights Movement and Mapam. All the participants were tight-lipped about the contents of the meeting. Rafi Edri, chairman of the Labor Knesset faction, only said: “It is clear that what we have today did not exist yesterday.” He would not elaborate.

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