While Knesset members from across the political spectrum called for MK Haim Ramon to resign following his conviction for indecent behavior, Ramon seemed far from ready to give up his seat Thursday. Ramon's associates said he had not begun to consider whether he should quit the Knesset and that he was focusing on appealing his conviction.
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That may mean bad news for the MKs looking to oust Ramon. The Basic Law of the Knesset allows for any MK to initiate proceedings for a suspension in the Knesset House Committee. The committee, however, can only suspend Ramon until the end of the proceedings against him. The MK can also appeal to return from the suspension at any time.
"MKs don't really have the full power to suspend one another," said a Knesset spokesman. "They can be recommended to suspend themselves. In the past, this has always been enough."
On Wednesday, MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP) appealed to the House Committee to begin the process of removing Ramon from the Knesset. Eldad said if the Knesset had started removing a president who hadn't even been indicted, the Knesset must remove Ramon after he was convicted.
If Ramon leaves the Knesset, the next in line on the Kadima list is retired general Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, a former head of the Israel Space Agency. Ben-Israel told Channel 1 on Thursday that he had not yet decided whether to enter the Knesset.
If Ben-Israel decides not to join the Knesset, the next names on the Kadima list are Kadima director-general Yohanan Plesner, Ethiopian candidate Shlomo Mula and Tel Aviv University's Prof. Dan Ben-David, a native of Chicago.