Yesh Atid Chaieman Yair Lapid decided to withdraw his decision to conduct free elections among party members for the role of party chairman and primaries to decide the list of candidates, Israel’s Channel 10 News revealed Thursday. Lapid initially promised, when he established Yesh Atid in 2012, that he would lead the party for two consecutive terms and then open it up for the voters to choose their leaders. Channel 10 reported Lapid had reached the decision on his own, without consulting with other party members.
Israeli political parties have three ways of picking their candidates: Likud, Labor, Bayit Yehudi, Meretz, and the United Arab List (at least two out of three of its factions) invite their members to vote for their favorite leaders, each party on a separate, nationwide primary day; the ultra-Orthodox party decides its candidate list through negotiations and Shas by a directive of the Council of Sages; and the rest are the private domain of the party bosses — Avigdor Liebrman, Moshe Kahlon, and Yair Lapid.
Lapid, like the other two bosses in the Knesset, also retained the right to pick the list of candidates for the next Knesset elections. Now, does this mean that he knows something the rest of us do not? Is Netanyahu planning yet another run, less than a year after the last one?
Yesh Atid dropped from 19 to 11 seats in the 20th Knesset, and has been sharing the center with Kahlon’s Kulanu, with its 10 members. Both Lapid and Kahlon have run the Finance Ministry during their stint in government, and both are competing for the same voters; they could cobble together the largest party in the Knesset, but they won’t. So the fight between them promises to be fierce. And so, whether the next elections come now or in three years from now, Lapid must recruit the best list of candidates he can against Kahlon, who will have the momentum of incumbency.
In other words, Democracy, shmedocracy, ya first gotta’ win it to be in it…