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Likud coalition in Israel appears to be crumbling

Prime Minister-designate Yitzhak Shamir's chances of forming a new government later this week looked increasingly slim Monday as his coalition began to fall apart.

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The key orthodox religious Agudat Israel Party came out against a Shamir-led government and called for new elections, because Mr. Shamir would not promise a program of religious legislation. Earlier, six members of the ruling Likud coalition told Shamir they would not support him in a parliamentary vote of confidence tentatively scheduled for Thursday.

The defection of Agudat Israel and the six Likud dissidents, who have demanded a national unity government with the opposition Labor Party, appeared to remove Shamir's chances of winning a parliamentary majority.

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