(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Thursday instructed police to investigate allegations of fraud and irregularities in the Kadima Party primary, the Justice Ministry said.
Mazuz ordered the enquiry after receiving a letter from the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel (LFLI) which cited a complaint of irregularities by Dr. Akram Hason, a Kadima primary candidate.
"In the wake of a detailed complaint on this issue... we have asked the police to check into this," Raz Nizri, a senior legal assistant to Mazuz, wrote in response to an attorney from the LFLI.
The letter went on to say that the attorney-general would decide how to proceed with the case based on the results of the police investigation.
The complaint follows Israeli media reports of alleged irregularities in last week's Kadima internal party voting in the Druse and Arab sectors.
The irregularities cited by LFLI attorney Dan Landau in a December 21 letter to the attorney-general included the unusually high voter turnout in these sectors - over 90 percent compared to 40% nationwide - the "swift" voting time in these sectors and the "unusual" turnout in the last two hours. The organization asked Mazuz to look into the allegations before Kadima submitted its final party list to the Central Elections Committee ahead of the February 10 general elections.
The party is to submit its list to the Central Elections Committee on Sunday night.
The Likud released a statement saying that Mazuz's decision to seek a police investigation into the allegations "proves that Kadima is corrupt and corrupts others."
Kadima officials expressed confidence that the police would find no evidence of wrongdoing.
"The Kadima primary was the most organized, legal and clean election ever," a Kadima spokesman said. "We have nothing to hide, and we will fully cooperate with law enforcement authorities."
Former head of investigations for the National Fraud Unit Dep-Cmdr. Boaz Guttman told The Jerusalem Post that police often had to deal with voter fraud in the Arab and haredi voting sectors.
"There are no police at the ballots. At best, there is a trained representative from the Central Voting Committee. But to monitor all activities around the ballot throughout the day is naturally hard," Guttman said. "Often, there is a party representative there [with no training on how to detect voter fraud]."
"This is a full-fledged criminal investigation. If the attorney-general has ordered police to investigate, chances are good that there are witness statements and that much of the material has not been released to the press," he said.
Should voter fraud be found, a reelection in the local area in which the ballot had been held would be ordered, Guttman said. He added that such an outcome would not have far-reaching effects on the overall primary election results.
In any case, according to Guttman, police were unlikely to launch the investigation before the general elections.