Mofaz to Haaretz: Livni's Election as Kadima Head 'Bordered on Criminal'

Mofaz claims Kadima's leadership primary in September 2008 was rigged, party in danger of falling apart.

The Kadima party's leadership primary in September 2008 was rigged, MK Shaul Mofaz charged in an interview with Haaretz this week.

The primary ended with Mofaz losing to Tzipi Livni by a few hundred votes.

In the run-up to the primary, Mofaz claimed, millions of shekels from the public coffers were distributed to Kadima members in various towns in order to shift their support to Livni.

Moreover, he said, on the day of the primary, the result was affected by what he termed improper decisions and actions. He claimed that some of these actions bordered on the criminal.

According to Mofaz, the subsequent primary to choose Kadima's Knesset candidates, held in November 2008, involved improprieties as well. "The result that was there at midnight apparently was not the result by which the MKs were eventually ranked," he charged.

In the interview, which will be published in full in Haaretz Magazine on Friday, Mofaz was also highly critical of Livni's character and her conduct as head of Kadima since the elections.

Livni lacks leadership, is arrogant, is devoid of emotional intelligence and does not like people, he charged, adding that her lack of leadership, inability to make decisions and inability to communicate with people make it impossible for her to become prime minister. Moreover, she made strategic mistakes that led to the deep crisis in which the party is now embroiled, he said.

In his view, unless the party holds a new leadership primary soon, Kadima is in danger of falling apart.

During the interview, Mofaz posed three immediate demands: holding a new leadership primary, altering the party's constitution and releasing party institutions from the control of the party chair. Kadima's current constitution is undemocratic, he charged, and consequently, the party's decision-making process is undemocratic.

The situation in the party today, he said, is intolerably undemocratic. "It's a 'my way or the highway' approach. It's all in my hands, and therefore I'll decide."

Mofaz believes that if Kadima holds a new primary in the coming months, his chances of victory are good. If this happens, he will seek to establish a unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as long as the latter agrees to two conditions: advancing the diplomatic process with the Palestinians and altering the system of government. In the longer run, Mofaz considers himself a candidate for the premiership.

Livni's bureau issued the following response to Mofaz's comments: "The leader of the opposition has decided not to be dragged into personal attacks, which she feels damage the party."