Lapid: Primaries for Yesh Atid leader will take time

Says Shelah fit to be PM but are Ya'alon, Cohen, Barbivai

Opposition leader Yair Lapid speaks at an Israel Democracy Institute video conference, July 27, 2020 (photo credit: ISRAEL DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE)
Opposition leader Yair Lapid speaks at an Israel Democracy Institute video conference, July 27, 2020
(photo credit: ISRAEL DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE)
Opposition leader Yair Lapid agreed to challenger Ofer Shelah's request to hold leadership primaries on Thursday but did not accept his demand to hold them immediately, ahead of the next election that could be held as early as March.
In radio interviews, Lapid responded to Shelah's announcement that he would run against Lapid if an open primary would be held. He said a process was currently being taken to evaluate when and how to hold primaries in the party and that process would take several more months.
"If we go through a process, it must be done in an organized and structured way," Lapid told Army Radio. "The process takes time. I don't want to shorten the process, which would be bad management."
He added in an interview with KAN Radio that " parties are not changed from one day to the next."
Lapid expressed concern that if Yesh Atid held a quick primary without taking precautions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could send 3000 people to take over the party.
He warned that primaries in Labor and Likud had "corrupted Israei politics."
Lapid said he was not upset at Shelah, with whom he has been friends for more than 30 years. He said Shelah had the skills to be prime minister, but he said Yesh Atid-Telem MKs Moshe Ya'alon, Meir Cohen and Orna Barbivai also did.
"Ofer Shelah is fitting and talented man with values," Lapid said. "I will stay in the party if he is chosen to lead it."
When he formed Yesh Atid, Lapid promised that there would be leadership primaries in the future, but the date has repeatedly been pushed off.   
Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern called on Thursday for primaries for the party's next Knesset list. Lapid said he would oppose such a move.