Mazuz: Double-party registrations between Kadima, Likud will be checked by ministry

The Justice Ministry's party registrar will compile a list of people who are members of both Likud and Kadima after the two parties asked for their lists to be examined, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz said on Tuesday The Likud's legal adviser, Avi Halevi, had asked Mazuz for guidelines after Kadima called on the Likud to cooperate in identifying who had double-registered. Kadima holds a primary to elect a new chairman in exactly two weeks. In a letter, Mazuz wrote that according to the Political Parties Law, double registration was a criminal offense. But the law does not instruct the state to take any steps to find out whether such offenses have been committed or to take measures against offenders. It is up to the parties to find out whether their members have also registered in another party. After both parties asked the Justice Ministry to look into the matter, the registrar asked each to submit a list of the identity numbers of all its members. Kadima's legal adviser, Eitan Haberman, already submitted his party's membership to the registrar on Tuesday. The Likud will submit its list on Wednesday. The registrar will compare the lists and inform both parties of those members who are registered in both. From that point on, it will be up to the two parties to take measures against those who have violated the law or to check to see whether they made errors in the lists they originally submitted to the registrar. Mazuz added that the Justice Ministry would look into the lacuna in the law, which does not provide a mechanism for the enforcement of the prohibition against double registration, and initiate an amendment to correct the matter. In the meantime, he wrote that because double registration was illegal, the parties should act quickly to deal with the matter at hand. Both Kadima and Likud welcomed Mazuz's decision and claimed victory in the ongoing dispute between the two parties over people who were members of both. Kadima election committee chairman Dan Arbel said he hoped Likud would cooperate fully as soon as possible to remove its members from among the eligible voters in the September 17 Kadima primary. A Likud spokeswoman released a statement thanking Mazuz for not accepting Kadima's request that Likud hand over its membership list to Kadima. She said Likud had requested that the party registrar check the lists. "The Likud has acted responsibly and will continue to do so to ensure that the law is upheld," the Likud spokeswoman said. Channel 2 reported last week that 3,478 Likud members have also joined Kadima, which is likely to have a significant impact on a close primary race in which there are only some 73,000 eligible voters. Livni's associates said that nearly all the Likudniks supported Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, because he was the most right-wing candidate and he maintained close ties with key vote contractors in the Likud central committee who were active in the Kadima membership drive. Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.