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Labor Party Wants Increase in Female Presence on Roster

The Labor Party has voted to increase the number of women represented on its Knesset roster.

The move came after female delegates boycotted a party convention Monday.

A proposal put forward at the convention would guarantee women six of the first 44 seats on the party roster.

In Israeli elections, the electorate votes for parties rather than individuals. The number of Knesset seats for each party is determined by the percentage of votes obtained.

Female Labor delegates were still considering the proposal. They had originally demanded 20 percent representation on the list.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Ora Namir said she would not rule out the formation of an independent women’s lobby within the party that would continue the battle for more representation.

Earlier, the convention also decided to put off debating the implementation of the law calling for the direct election of the prime minister. The 1996 elections will be the first time Israelis vote directly for prime minister.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin, who opposes the law, called on the convention to debate the issue at the meeting.

But the convention overwhelmingly voted to delay discussion until March 1996.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had urged members of the convention not to discuss the matter now, saying it would be a grave mistake to have an internal argument during crucial months of the peace process.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who oppose the law, sided with Rabin, saying now is not the time to get bogged down by a discussion.

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