MK Wahabi First Druze to Act as Knesset Speaker, President

Kadima MK to take over Dalia Itzik's duties at midnight Monday, as she will be abroad.

MK Majali Wahabi (Kadima) will be the first Druze to act as both Knesset speaker and president of Israel from midnight Monday, Israel Radio reported, as Knesset Speaker and Acting President Dalia Itzik goes abroad.

Itzik has been serving as acting president since Moshe Katsav temporarily suspended himself after the attorney general announces that he is considering indicting Katsav on charges of rape and abuse of power.

Itzik will continue as acting president until Katsav either resigns or returns. Should he resign, she will replace him until a new president is elected.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz will make a final decision on whether to indict Katsav after the president's hearing, which is set to take place May 2.

A month ago, the Knesset House Committee approved Katsav's request to suspend himself for three months by a narrow margin of 13-11.

Those who opposed granting the president "temporary incapacity" status argued that Katsav must be ousted rather than just granted leave.