Kadima No. 2 Threatens to Take Livni Fraud Charge to Police

Mofaz says primaries were rigged to tilt outcome in favor of Kadima chair, Livni, who won by hundreds of votes.

The leadership crisis within Kadima continued on Monday as MK Shaul Mofaz again demanded party chairwoman Tzipi Livni call for primaries in the next few months.

"If you want me to complain to the police, I will," Mofaz warned Livni, regarding claims he made last week over her alleged criminal activity during the September 2008 elections.

Mofaz came in second to Livni during the opposition party's last leadership race, by a margin of several hundred votes.

At a press conference following a party gathering, Mofaz verbally lambasted Livni and said that "each day that goes by without her leadership being questioned only hurts the party."

"The country suffers from the fact that Kadima is not part of the government, as does the party and the party members," Mofaz said.

"This [Kadima] is not her party," Mofaz added, and went on to say that "the party's system is a black box and its regulations are draconian."

Kadima officials close to the chairwoman insisted there was no evidence of wrongdoing during the primaries. Livni's associates responded to the allegations by saying: "If Mofaz thinks we carried out criminal activities, we request that he go to police and show them his evidence."

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

MK Ophir Akunis (Likud) on Wednesday demanded that the State Control Committee call an immediate Knesset hearing on Mofaz's allegations.

Akunis asked Yoel Hasson (Kadima), who chairs the Control Committee, not to take part in the hearing due to his active role in the Kadima primaries.

In the run-up to the primary, Mofaz claimed, millions of shekels from public coffers were distributed to Kadima members across the country in order to shift 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."