Kadima: Mofaz Can Go to Police With Primary Fraud Claims

Mofaz to Haaretz: Livni's win in Kadima primary 'almost criminal', primary rigged in her favor.

Kadima hit back Wednesday over claims by Shaul Mofaz, who came second in its party leadership race, that that there had been criminal activity during the September 2008 vote, telling the former army chief that he could go to the police with his claims.

The primary ended with Mofaz losing to Tzipi Livni by a margin of several hundred votes.

"If Mofaz thinks we carried out criminal activities, we request that he go to police and show them his evidence," said a statement from the party.

Kadima insists that there is no evidence of wrongdoing during their primaries.

Mofaz told Haaretz in an interview published earlier Wednesday that the primary had been rigged in order to tilt the outcome of election in victor Tzipi Livni's favor.

MK Ophir Akunis (Likud) approached the State Control Committee on Wednesday demanding an immediate Knesset hearing on Mofaz' impropriety allegations. Akunis asked Yoel Hasson (Kadima), the chairman of the Control Committee, to recuse himself from the hearing due to his active role in the Kadima primaries.

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."