Friedmann: Kick Likudniks off Kadima register

Livni fears Netanyahu could decide primary.

friedmann 224.88 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski  [file])
friedmann 224.88 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann ordered the party registrar, Alon Bachar, on Tuesday to use all legal means at his disposal to prevent Likud members from voting in the September 17 Kadima primary. Friedmann also asked Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to examine all the legal issues regarding what Bachar is allowed to do to enforce the law that prohibits being a member of two parties. Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu could tip the scales in favor of Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz in the September 17 Kadima race, an MK close to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday. Channel 2 revealed on Monday that 3,478 Likud members have joined Kadima, a number that is likely to have a significant impact on a close race in which there are only some 73,000 eligible voters. Livni's associates said that nearly all the Likudniks support Mofaz because he is the most right-wing candidate in the race and he maintains close ties with key vote contractors in the Likud central committee who were active in the Kadima membership drive. "Bibi wants to keep the Likudniks in Kadima as soldiers for Mofaz," the MK said. "All the Likudnik vote contractors who registered people in Kadima are Mofaz people. Bibi could have them removed in a minute, but he isn't doing it, because he knows the race could be decided by a few thousand votes, and he is afraid of Livni." Likud officials said they had delivered a formal request to Mazuz on Monday, asking him whether the party had to submit its membership list to Kadima and requesting that he recommend an independent agency or governmental office that could examine the lists without violating the privacy of Likud members. Kadima officials said the Likud's appeal to Mazuz was a way of avoiding submitting their party membership list. They said Netanyahu knew Mofaz would not make him submit the list because of a recent court decision that prevented the Labor Party from receiving the membership list of Russian-Israeli billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak's Social Justice Party. It is a criminal offense to be a member of two parties, punishable with up to a year in prison. But no one has been put in charge of enforcing the law, and the Knesset will not be in session before the primary to close the loophole. The party registrar's office had refused the Likud's request to intervene. Central elections committee chair Tami Edri said no one had asked her to intervene because it is not her agency's responsibility. "It is not our job to deal with internal party elections," Edri said. Likud central committee member Michael Fuah, who is close to former Likud leadership candidate Moshe Feiglin, filed a complaint with the National Fraud Unit in Bat Yam on Tuesday, asking the police to force both Kadima and Likud to provide their membership lists to the police to remove people who are members of both parties. "I'm worried that thousands of these criminals who are members of both parties will decide who our next prime minister will be," Fuah said. Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.