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MK Yossi Sarid (Meretz-Yahad) announced Thursday that he is to retire from politics and from the Knesset after a career spanning 32 years. Sarid will convene a press conference Friday where he will outline the reasons for his retirement.

"Had I known I was to become education minister in the next government, I would have had a reason to stay because of my commitment to education," Sarid said. "Had I known I was to become justice minister in the next government to clean out the filthy stables, I would have stayed," he added.

"But being a realist, I know my chances are slim to none, and I have no need to break Guinness World Records like Shimon Peres. I am sick and tired of those who seize the horns of the altar," Sarid concluded.

The veteran left-winger said that since the rumors of his imminent retirement had spread he has received several offers and that he is thinking about accepting one of them. He will also continue teaching civics in Sderot and write books.

Sarid also said that Meretz is undergoing a crisis at present and he hopes it does not lose more seats in the upcoming election, set for March 2006.

Unlike Sarid, veteran left-winger Haim Oron (Meretz-Yahad) announced on Thursday he is to stay in politics and run for a seat with Meretz.

"After personal debates and in light of the chances Meretz and the peace camp have for bringing to a breakthrough in the peace process and a general social upheaval, I have decided to continue my political and parliamentary activities," Oron said.