Edwin Poots has resigned as leader of the DUP after less than a month in the post.
Mr Poots is standing down following an internal revolt against him but will stay in post until a successor is elected.
Speaking on Thursday evening Mr Poots said: “I have asked the Party Chairman to commence an electoral process within the Party to allow for a new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party to be elected.
“The Party has asked me to remain in post until my successor is elected.
“This has been a difficult period for the Party and the country and I have conveyed to the Chairman my determination to do everything I can to ensure both Unionism and Northern Ireland is able to move forward to a stronger place.”
On Thursday, a meeting of DUP party officers was held in Belfast following speculation that a revolt to oust Mr Poots could be on the cards with him potentially facing a vote of no confidence.
Earlier, Mr Poots formally nominated Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan as Northern Ireland’s new first minister at a special sitting of the Stormont Assembly.
But a significant majority of the DUP representatives opposed the decision.