Kadima chairman MK Shaul Mofaz officially announced on Tuesday that he is retiring from political life and will not run for the 20th Knesset, though Kadima is still planning to run with a list in the March 17 election.
"I must confess – I am not an outstanding politician. Politics is not something I strive to excel in. The glorious legacy of Israel was blessed with deserving leaders and generals, I prefer to be among them," Mofaz said in a statement.
"Public service for me is a way of life and a great privilege. In the future, in every role I fill and any path I take, I will march for Israel,” he added.
Mofaz’s announcement comes a week talks after to merge Kadima with Labor collapsed.
Mofaz announced the failure of discussions with Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog, saying he had turned down an offer for a reserved spot on Labor's list but was satisfied with his decision.
Hours before Mofaz’s announcement, Kadima announced that former Knesset member Dr. Akram Hasson, who served as an MK for the party between 2012 and 2013, will head Kadima’s list in the March 17 elections.
This will mark the first time in Israel's history that a Druze heads a Jewish party.
The remainder of the Kadima list is as follows: former MK Doron Avital, former Givatayim Mayor Reuven Ben-Shahar, MK Yuval Zellner, Tal Ashkenazi, Yuval Fish, Beata Krants and Eliran Vaknin.
Originally founded by former prime minister Ariel Sharon, and for a brief period Israel's largest party, Kadima now has just two seats, and is expected to disappear off the Israeli political map entirely after March elections.
The party's remarkable rise and fall are illustrated in the fact that just two terms ago Kadima actually led the government with the now-disgraced former prime minister Ehud Olmert at its head.
Kadima's second MK in the 19th Knesset, Yisrael Hasson, recently resigned to take up a position as chairman of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He was replaced by Zellner, who temporarily served as an MK in the previous Knesset as well, replacing Tzipi Livni when she resigned after losing the party leadership to Mofaz.
Mofaz briefly entered Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition in 2012, but quit ten weeks later after he failed to lead a move that would see haredim being drafted into the army.