Juneau (Alaska, US), July 26 (ANI): Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will step down Sunday, almost a year after hogging the national limelight as Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate.
Palin had announced her decision to step down from the post 18 months ahead of schedule on July 3, and this set rumor mills into overdrive with speculation that she was preparing the ground for a 2012 presidential bid against Democrat incumbent Barack Obama.
However, the controversy surrounding the ethics probes, the mounting legal bills, and growing doubts about her ability to govern are being cited as reasons for her to quit the political scene for the time being.
Forty-five-year-old Palin has been participating in an annual series of picnics in her hometown of Wasilla since Friday. She told one crowd of more than 1,000 people that she was grateful for the backing she has received from Alaskans.
She was casually dressed in jeans and a red football sweatshirt, and serving hotdogs and signing autographs, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Last Saturday, she attended a picnic in Alaska's largest city Anchorage and a final picnic in Fairbanks last on Sunday. She will hand over the reins of the state to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, the newspaper reported.
While she is unwilling to reveal her immediate future plans, she has told the Washington Post that she plans to take her battle to cleanse the system nationally, "challenging the powerful, the entrenched, the corrupt and anyone standing in the way of getting our country back on the right track."
Some two dozen ethics complaints have been filed against Palin and while she has cast herself as an anti-corruption star she was found to have violated state ethics rules governing public officials.
Palin has said she owes more than half a million dollars in legal fees stemming from what she has described as the "political absurdity" of the ethics complaints.
New poll figures released in recent days show most Americans do not see her in a positive light and cast doubt on her governing skills.
Fifty-three percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Palin, with only 40 percent seeing her in positive terms -- her lowest approval rating since McCain tapped her as his running mate, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday.
Potentially troubling for Palin if she decides to run for national office, 57 percent of poll respondents said she does not understand complex issues, with 37 percent saying she does. (ANI)