A new centrist “super party,” bringing together former prime minister Ehud Olmert, former Kadima chair Tzipi Livni and popular political newcomer Yair Lapid, “is not going to happen,” Lapid said Thursday.
The former TV news anchor, who is running for election at the helm of his new Yesh Atid party, spoke after a Haaretz poll Thursday morning showed that such a grouping would win 25 seats in the January 22 elections, surpassing the Likud’s 24 projected seats. The same poll also showed, however, that the right-wing bloc would maintain a majority in the Knesset, most likely enabling Benjamin Netanyahu to continue as prime minister.
In an interview on Israel Radio, Lapid said he did not believe that politicians convicted of crimes committed while they were in office should return to political life.
He was speaking specifically of Aryeh Deri, the former Shas party leader who is making a return to politics having served jail time for taking bribes. But he made clear that the same principle applied to Olmert, who was convicted in July of breach of trust and given a suspended jail term. He and Olmert were “family friends,” and he has made it a principle never to comment directly on Olmert, he said.
Lapid did not rule out some kind of partnership with Livni, but said he did not know what her political plans were, and that no alliance with her was currently being contemplated.