Shamir sets about forming coalition

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, whose views parallel the hard-line policies of Menachem Begin, was preparing Wednesday to become Israel's seventh prime minister. He received a mandate from President Chaim Herzog to form a new coalition government.

The prime minister-designate immediately called on the opposition Labor Party to serve under him in a national unity government, but Labor's response was not encouraging. Labor Party leader Shimon Peres told state radio his party would consider a formal invitation, but predicted it would turn it down. Labor could not serve in a Shamir government without sacrificing its principles, he said.

Mr. Shamir has three weeks to assemble his coalition, which will apparently be identical to Mr. Begin's outgoing government. Until a new administration is formed, Begin leads a caretaker government.

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