QUEBEC - Parti Quebecois member Elaine Zakaïb has announced she is quitting politics to lead a struggling clothing retailer.
Zakaib, who represented Richelieu riding, will be the chief of restructuring and vice-president of strategy for the Jacob women's clothing chain.
Her resignation leaves the PQ with 29 members in the 125-seat legislature.
Zakaib was first elected in 2012 and was minister responsible for industrial policy in Pauline Marois's short-lived PQ government, which was turfed out earlier this year.
Before entering provincial politics, Zakaib worked for the Quebec Federation of Labour's Solidarity Fund for 20 years.
Wiretaps played during Quebec's corruption inquiry last January showed she was aware of irregularities in the way some companies were funded as well as a growing expense-account scandal involving the former head of the QFL's construction wing.
After the wiretaps were made public, Zakaib said she had learned of the irregularities in 2009 and insisted they be corrected.
Zakaib said quitting politics is a difficult decision but insisted resurrecting the floundering company was an appealing challenge.
"I have the chance to use my skill, my experience, my knowledge to relaunch Jacob," she told a news conference Monday.
"It's saving hundreds of jobs in Quebec and creating dozens of others, it's promoting the design of clothing from Quebec. I would never be able to forgive myself if I hadn't tried."
Interim PQ Leader Stephane Bedard praised Zakaib's work in government, calling her an entrepreneur with vision.
"We're sorry to see her go but at the same time, her departure is in line with her promise," he said. "She's going to help a jewel of the Quebec economy in the clothing sector. Who doesn't know Jacob?"
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