Francoise David is retiring from politics immediately.

The Quebec Solidaire leader announced her retirement Thursday morning, saying she does not have the strength to continue and that she is tired. She added that her health isn't what it used to be.

"Since the beginning of the fall of 2016, I have felt a fatigue that has never left me," she said. "I am less and less able to handle the stress and the rhythm inherent to the political life. The media whirlwind exhausts me."

The 69-year-old politician also said she has no immediate plans, and though she wants to rest first, she assured she would not remain silent.

An ardent supporter for the disenfranchised, David has spent decades working as an activist, and was one of the founders of Quebec Solidaire, a left-wing, feminist, separatist party.

"We have come a long way together. Ten years ago when we founded Quebec Solidaire, I promised to give a voice to the voiceless," she said.

In a tweet, she wrote: "As I reflect on the road ahead, one word stands out: confidence. Confidence in our collective ability to build a better Quebec."


Her departure comes as the Parti Quebecois has been actively wooing its supporters, even pushing for a merger.

PQ leader Jean-Francois Lisée reminded voters the two parties were co-operating on some files.

"Although we have differences and we respect them, the greatest possible task is to put an end to the Liberal era," said Lisée.

Attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Premier Philippe Couillard credited David's political contribution.

"I would like to pay tribute to Mrs. David the parliamentarian, but also to recognize the validity and importance of the words of Françoise David the Quebec woman, who will continue to speak in Quebec over the next few years," he said.

David hinted at retirement earlier this year, said earlier this year that she was evaluating her future in politics, saying it was likely she would finish her term in office even if she chose not to run again in 2018.

On Thursday she said she will spend more time with her granddaughter, but still plans to be actively battling for social justice.

Her party now needs to find a replacement for David, and several people are mentioning former student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

"That will be a fantastic take for Quebec Solidaire," said MNA Amir Khadir.

Couillard will now be forced to call another by-election within six months in the Montreal-area Gouin riding.

David stated that she would not be receiving the typical transition allowance allotted to ex-politicians. Her fellow MNAs Amir Khadir and Manon Massé, along with party president Andres Fontecilla, attended Thursday's news conference.

The former president of the Quebec Women’s Federation was first elected to the National Assembly in 2012 to represent the riding of Gouin. She was honoured as a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1999.

Politics has been a family affair: David's sister, Helene David, is also an MNA, serving the Liberal Party as the minister for higher education.

Their father Paul David was a Progressive Conservative senator, appointed in 1985 by former prime minister Brian Mulroney. Their grandfather, Louis-Athanase David, was a Liberal senator, appointed by William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1940. And their great-grandfather, Laurent-Olivier David was appointed to the Senate in 1903 on the advice of Wilfrid Laurier.