faction head Dalia Itzik, who previously served as Knesser speaker and acting president, announced she is quitting politics on Wednesday. "Sadly, ego and power struggles have torn apart the left and center," she told Ynet. "My ability to influence the process at this point is small and that is why I'm taking some time off."
She further explained, "I'm taking time off from public life, not leaving it. Sadly, for the past few months I have tried with great effort to unite the forces. I thought that at this time Ehud Olmert
is the only one who could lead the State of Israel to those places it needs to get to."
Itzik noted that she felt honored to fill senior roles at the Knesset. "I love the country, it's important to me and I shall follow what's going on closely."
Itzik, 60, began her political career at the Labor
Party and was first elected to the Knesset in 1992. She served as the environment protection minister in Ehud Barak's
government in 1999, and was later appointed industry, trade and labor minister under Ariel Sharon.
She also served as communications minister.
Itzik as Knesset speaker with Peres (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
In 2005, she joined Sharon in Kadima and in 2006 was appointed the first female Israeli Knesset speaker. Itzik also served as acting president after Moshe Katsav was forced to suspend his presidential term over rape charges made against him.
In 2009, she placed first on the Kadima roster but her party remained in the opposition. She refused to publically endorse Livni or Mofaz in the last primaries.
Also Wednesday, Kadima MK Jacob Edery said he is quitting the party and won't run for Knesset in the upcoming election.