Knesset votes against impeachment of president

Thursday, March 08, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
The Knesset House Committee on Wednesday voted against impeaching President Moshe Katsav who is accused of rape and sexual misconduct.

When the hearings two months ago, committee members were anxious to act as stand-ins, but on the day of the final hearing only 14 of 25 members showed up for the vote. The low vote turnout was partially based on a last-minute decision by Committee Chairwoman Ruhama Avraham to ban six Members of Knesset (MKs) from taking part in the vote, after they failed to participate in at least half of the discussion.

“This is based on a law set down in the books, that an MK must be present at half of the discussions in order to vote on the issue… it is often not practiced but on an important issue such as this I felt it was appropriate,” Avraham said.

“I am sad to discover that the Knesset's disgrace has been revealed in full. A Knesset which is incapable of impeaching a president allegedly accused of severe sex offenses, is failing in its moral and legal duty to the public,” said Zehava Gal-On, who initiated the petition. Limor Livnat said she was also “ashamed” of the Knesset members who voted against impeachment.

Thirty-Eight MKs signed the petition initiated by Livnat and Gal-On, but Avraham blamed the two parliament members for starting the impeachment process too early.

“We all know that those who pushed to grant Katsav the suspension that he is currently enjoying did so because they knew it would kill the movement to have him impeached,” said Gal-On. “We all know who those MKs are and what they really stand for.”

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