Former Israeli news anchor Yair Lapid announced on Sunday that his new political party will be called Atid, which means “future,” but he has yet to tell the public whose faces – other than his own – the future will hold.
Lapid has said who won’t be among the 100 people on his party’s ticket: incumbent politicians and public figures who have left their posts after failing in some way. He has specifically ruled out joining forces with Tzipi Livni, who was recently ousted as opposition leader and Kadima chairwoman.
“No serving politician will be in my party,” Lapid has written on his Facebook page. “All over the world, when politicians fail they are replaced by new people with new ideas.”
Yair Lapid – the son of another journalist-turned-politician, the late Yosef Lapid, who headed the centrist, secularist Shinui party between 1999 and 2006 – said he would be officially registering his party in the coming days. That will render moot a recently passed law aimed at Lapid Jr., stating that party and campaign finance laws apply even if the political party has not been officially registered.
“Good for them that their fear for their seats has caused them to learn to work together, finally,” Yair Lapid wrote about the Likud, Labor and Kadima parties soon after the law was passed. “It’s just a bit of a shame that they’re not doing this with issues that really are important to the State of Israel. The time has come for different, clean politics.”
MK Yariv Levin (Likud ), who sponsored the law, accused Lapid on Sunday of failing to reveal the sources of his campaign donations. “It’s too bad that someone who purports to be determining the future has not managed to voluntarily reveal his past or present fiscal conduct,” said Levin. “Lapid has admitted today to failing in his attempt to evade giving a public accounting of his campaign donations.”
But sources close to Lapid said that by forming a completely new party – rather than reviving a dormant party, as Defense Minister Ehud Barak did when he broke away from Labor to found Atzmaut last year – he is modeling the clean politics he wants to institute. That’s because new parties get less money than veteran ones do. Atid’s campaign spending is capped at NIS 13.5 million.
Atzmaut was built on the vestiges of Avigdor Kahalani’s Third Way, which had not been active in the Knesset for more than a decade.
An earlier version of Levin’s bill had sought to institute a “cooling-off period” that would require journalists to stay away from journalism for several months before going into politics, but it was quashed when Lapid quit his job as a news anchor for Channel 2 in January. Since then, Lapid has been holding parlor meetings and keeping his supporters updated through his regular Facebook posts.