MKs Force Olmert to Tell Knesset Plenum Why He Refuses to Resign

46 MKs sign petition demanding Olmert participate in debate on his 'refusal to resign' in wake of Winograd report.

MKs from both opposition and coalition parties submitted a petition to Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik on Tuesday demanding the plenum hold a special debate with the participation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss "the prime minister's refusal to resign following the Winograd report."

46 MKs signed the petition, including six from the Labor Party. The signatures of only 40 MKs are legally required in order to force the prime minister to participate.

Likud Faction Chair Gideon Sa'ar and Meretz Faction Chair Zahava Gol-On collected the signatures following Monday's no-confidence votes, which the coalition easily survived.

"We only turned to the clause in the Basic Law: The Government that forces the prime minister to participate in the discussion after Olmert, who refuses to take responsibility, evaded appearing before the Knesset plenum," Sa'ar said.

To date, Olmert has refrained from addressing the report before the plenum.

The six Labor MKs who signed the petition are: Ophir Pines-Paz, Ami Ayalon, Danny Yatom, Eitan Cabel, Avishai Braverman and Shelly Yachimovich.

"The prime minister cannot continue avoiding to deal with the report and its severe findings," Ayalon said. "If he does not understand himself that he must provide the Knesset and the public with clear answers, the Knesset will require him to."

The Knesset plenum has held two debates in recent days regarding the Winograd report on the Second Lebanon War. In a special session held Thursday, the government was represented by Vice Premier Shimon Peres, while in the debates on the no-confidence motions Monday, Interior Minister Roni Bar-On represented the government.