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Dmc-likud Talks Founder; Dmc to Remain in the Opposition Ranks

August 4, 1977
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Coalition talks between the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) and Likud have foundered and the party headed by Prof. Yigael Yadin will remain in the opposition ranks although its leaders have made it clear that it will act independently and will not form a Knesset bloc with the Labor Alignment.

Yadin said after breaking off negotiations last night, “We resumed the talks after we had received promises. These promises were not kept by the Likud.” The DMC Central Committee was due to convene this evening to vote, on the basis of Yadin’s recommendations, whether or not to join the Likud-led government. But the decision apparently already has been made and rejection is virtually certain.

The Labor Alignment’s Knesset faction was elated by the news. But the DMC’s No. 2 man, Amnon Rubinstein, promptly ruled out a union or any other form of “artificial bloc” with Labor. He noted that there were several areas of agreement between the Alignment and the DMC but also many areas of disagreement, especially on economic issues.

Rubinstein said on a radio interview: “We shall function in accordance with our principles, placing the good of the State above all considerations. We shall not be a hostile opposition.” But on the other hand, the DMC will not soften its line against Likud on the possibility that it might join the coalition at some future time. He said his party would act in a “decisive but matter of course style of opposition.”

As if to underline its independence of the Labor opposition, the DMC voted in the Knesset today for the government’s proposed budget because, in Rubinstein’s words “we think it is good for the State.”


The break-off of talks was a blow to Premier Menachem Begin who had hoped to increase his narrow Knesset majority with the DMC’s 15 seats. Begin reportedly offered various “compromises” to Yadin at their meeting last night but could not guarantee that his coalition partners, the National Religious Party (NRP) and the Aguda bloc, would accept them.

As matters now stand, the Knesset is almost evenly divided between a relatively large opposition in which “doveish” views predominate and a rightist, religious-oriented government coalition.

The coalition talks with the DMC, which have been going on almost from the day the Begin government took office, broke down partly because the two parties could not agree on Cabinet portfolios and partly because the religious partners, notably the tiny Aguda, feared that the DMC’s demands for electoral reforms would eliminate it from the political scene. The religious parties also demanded that the DMC vote along with the coalition on religious issues. The DMC insisted on freedom to vote as it chooses on those matters.

Begin now has the task of filling the government portfolios that had been left open for the DMC. These are the Welfare Ministry, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Justice. The Premier is expected to announce his appointments in the next few days.

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