Ieuan Wyn Jones wants Plaid Cymru leadership contest
Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones says it is important there is a leadership contest to choose his successor when he stands down early next year.
The Anglesey assembly member told BBC Wales he hopes several candidates put their names forward as it was important party members had a choice.
The party announced last week it aimed to have a new leader in place by mid-March, before the local elections.
It comes as a review of the party's strategy takes place.
Mr Jones, 62, told Sunday Supplement on BBC Radio Wales that it was right he made way after the results of the review were known.
The review is set to be completed by the end of the year.
No candidate has yet formally put their name forward but Lord Elis-Thomas, the leader 20 years ago, has been nominated by his local party in Dwyfor Meirionnydd.
End Quote Ieuan Wyn Jones Leader - Plaid Cymru
The next leader needs to know that he or she has the support of the party when they take over the position”
Former rural affairs minister Elin Jones has said she is considering running.
The Plaid leader must be an AM, which rules out people like Adam Price, the former Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP who is pursuing a scholarship at Harvard University in the US.
Mr Jones said: "We now know that the review is likely to conclude at the end of this year and therefore it's right and proper that the leadership election should follow that as soon as possible.
"I do hope that there is a contest because party members really value having candidates coming before them.'Full confidence'
"I've done two leadership elections and the party members need to know that they have had a vote in deciding the next leader.
"The next leader needs to know that he or she has the support of the party when they take over the position."
Mr Jones denied that whoever got the job would be seen merely as a stop-gap until Mr Price, who has said he wants to become an AM, returns to front line politics.
"I'm pretty sure that had Adam been a member of the group at this point he would have been a candidate for the leadership," he added.
"There is sufficient talent within the group that the next leader has the full confidence of the party to take us forward to the next stage of development.
"The thing is it's only members of the group that can put themselves forward as leadership candidates."