Washington: Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, announced today that he will not make another White House run in 2016, ending weeks of speculation over his possible bid.
The development gives a big advantage to Jeb Bush to make a maiden bid for the White House next year.
"After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I've decided it's best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee," Romney told donors in a conference call.
Romney said he is taking such a decision despite knowing that he would win the Republican Party nomination for the 2016 elections.
"I know that early poll numbers move up and down and revealed during the campaign. But we would have no doubt started in a strong position," he said.
Romney was defeated by US President Barack Obama in 2012 presidential elections and lost to John McCain in the 2008 Republican primary.
Last week, McCain had told his supporters that he is thinking of making a third bid to the top position.
Romney said he was convinced of victory in the primaries.
"One poll out yesterday shows me gaining support and leading the other contender nearly two to one. Also, leading in all of the more early (primary poll) states," Romney said.
"So I'm convinced that we could win the nomination. But I fully realise that what has been a difficult test and a hard fight. I also believe was the message in making the world safer, providing opportunity for every American, regardless of the neighbourhood they live in and working to put the break the grip of poverty, I would have the best chance of beating the eventual Democrat nominee.
"But that's before the other contenders have had the opportunity to take their message to the voters. I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country. One who's just getting started may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case," he said.
Romney noted that it is critical that America elects a conservative leader to become the next president.
"You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president," Romney said in a statement.
"You can't imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation," he said.
Such a decision by Romney, political analysts said, gives a huge advantage to Jeb Bush, the former Florida Governor, who has already announced his intention to run for presidency in 2016.
A large number of former Romney supporters and fund raisers were already deviating towards Bush.
Jeb Bush, is the son of former US President George H W Bush, and brother of another ex-US President, George W Bush.
Romney said that his decision in this regard is final.
"I've been asked, and will certainly be asked again if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely. Accordingly, I'm not organising a PAC or taking donations; I'm not hiring a campaign team," he said.
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