The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will not run for office when his current term expires in 2013.
He revealed his intentions in an interview in La Repubblica newspaper.
Berlusconi, who is fighting allegations of corruption and paying for sex with an underage prostitute, repeated his wish that justice minister Angelino Alfano takes over from him.
The announcement comes at a time of renewed in-fighting between ministers in his administration. His own personal popularity has been slipping badly in opinion polls and recent local elections.
The newspaper quoted Berlusconi saying he would give it all up now if he could but he would not stand down right now.
Another headache emerged from the finance minister Giulio Tremonti, a man considered at one time a potential successor.
Prosecutors investigating corruption have asked for the arrest of a former adviser whose house Tremonti used when in Rome.
Berlusconi criticised Tremonti in the paper, saying he believes himself a genius but he is not a team player.
Berlusconi also ruled out any attempt to become president of Italy saying he believed that position should be filled by his chief of staff Gianni Letta.