David Ford is to step down as Alliance leader, effective from noon on Thursday (October 6).
Mr Ford's resignation comes 15 years after taking the top role in the party. He will continue serve as MLA for South Antrim.
His successor will be chosen by party members at a special Alliance Party Council on October 26. Naomi Long is set to take over as acting leader in the interim.
“With my 15th anniversary, I felt it the most appropriate time to step aside and pass the reins to a new generation of leadership for the party,” said the 65-year-old.
“Alliance has a well-established new Assembly team, which has hit the ground running by successfully submitting a number of private member's bills and continuing to provide the effective scrutiny of the Executive others have so far failed to do.
“I am proud to represent the people of South Antrim, who most recently re-elected me for my fifth Assembly term in May, and I will continue to do that in Stormont and in the constituency.
“Whoever succeeds me as Alliance Leader will be taking over a party on the rise. I am confident they will continue that upwards trend of growing the party, while providing leadership for everyone in our community.”
Mr. Ford, a former social worker, served as Justice Minister between 2010 and 2016. He succeeded Sean Neeson as leader of the Alliance party in 2001.
More to follow