Itzik poised to become first female Knesset Speaker

Acting PM Ehud Olmert announced his intention to nominate her to the position Monday night.

dalia itzik 298 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
dalia itzik 298 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Kadima MK Dalia Itzik appeared poised to become the first female Knesset speaker, as Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his intention to nominate Itzik to the position Monday night. "It's a very significant achievement and Olmert has expressed interest in raising the standards of the Knesset," said Itzik. She will replace former speaker MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud), who called the past 16th Knesset the "most corrupt in history." Olmert made the announcement as part of his ministerial lineup. Before Itzik becomes speaker, however, she will face a vote in the Knesset plenum. Although it appeared that Itzik's nomination would be approved due to the strength of Olmert's coalition, many MKs noted that Itzik had made many enemies during her 14 years in Knesset. "I am sure that there will be some vocal opposition to Itzik's appointment," said one Shas MK, who asked not to be named. "She has always had a reputation for being very partisan. A lot of us are concerned that she will favor Kadima instead of being an impartial speaker." Itzik also appeared to have garnered many enemies in the Labor Party, which she left in November 2005 to join Kadima. "There were definitely some people in Labor who were happy to see her leave," said one Labor MK. "She left many enemies behind her." In Labor, Itzik earned a reputation as being a strong ally to MK Shimon Peres, and when he announced his intention to leave the party, Itzik quickly followed suit. Itzik began her career in the 13th Knesset. Since then, she has served as minister of the environment, minister of industry, trade and labor, and most recently, as minister of communications. It was widely known that Itzik has aspired to become Knesset speaker, and in recent months she often spoke of her high regard for the institution of the Knesset.