INTRODUCTION: An early general election was expected in Israel following the resignation of Finance Minister Yigael Hurvitz and two fellow party members from the ruling coalition.
GV & SV Tel Aviv Schoolteachers' meeting, teachers listening to speakers (5 shots)
GV Jerusalem Cabinet meeting
GV Premier Begin walks towards reporters (2 shots)
SCU Begin speaking in English
SV Tel Aviv Shimon Peres seated in office
SV Peres speaking in English
SPEECH BEGINS (TRANSCRIPT)
BEGIN: (SEQ. 4.): "This is democracy. It happens in a coalition government that one of the partners leaves it and then a new situation is created. There is no reason to be disappointed."
PERES: (SEQ. 5.): "I think the choice before the government is either to have an early election or to submit its resignation. Actually the results are exactly alike. I consider that we are going to have an early election in May or in June. In my judgement the earlier the better, to shorten the period of the campaign which is usually very costly, and creates a vacuum in the decision-making of the nation. And I think we have to prepare for the elections."
PART EUROVISION TELERECORDING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: An early general election was expected in Israel following the resignation of Finance Minister Yigael Hurvitz and two fellow party members from the ruling coalition. Their departure left the government without a safe majority in Israel's Parliament, the Knesset.
SYNOPSIS: It was the issue of teachers' pay that brought about the resignation of Mr. Hurvitz. He quit during a Cabinet meeting on Sunday (11 January) in protest against an 11-3 vote in favour of increasing their pay. Mr. Hurvitz argued that Israel could not afford the increase -- particularly in view of runaway inflation. Following his resignation, the pay dispute continued with teachers holding a protest meeting in Tel Aviv.
At a Cabinet meeting on Monday (12 January) in Jerusalem, a final decision on a general election was deferred. But Prime Minister Begin made it clear he believed his coalition could not continue until its mandate expires in November.
Opinion polls forecast that the opposition Labour Party, headed by Shimon Peres, would win an election comfortably.