Taiwan's ruling party leader said he will not run for presidential nomination on Saturday, hours before the deadline for party members to sign up as a candidate.
Chief of the China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist party, Eric Chu is considered the most promising contender against the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen.
As he announced his plan to not the join the race, Eric Chu said he wants to help the right candidate within the party. So far, three candidates, including deputy legislative speaker Hung Hsiu-chu, applied for the task.
The KMT has been ruling the country after China's communists defeated the nationalists in a civil war that ended in 1949. But it got defeated in local elections last November.
The latest announcement raises the possibility of pro-independence opposition DPP's success in the 2016 elections, as many people are getting more disturbed by the closer relations with China.
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory waiting to be reunified since their split.
Despite his decision, Chu could still be chosen by the party as a candidate if no other nominees get enough support.