A third veteran politician is stepping down from the Assembly, it emerged today.
The departure of Ulster Unionist Dermot Nesbitt (59), a former Environment Minister in the power-sharing Executive, comes after similar moves by the SDLP's Sean Farren and ex-Alliance deputy leader Seamus Close.
A senior aide to former First Minister David Trimble, with whom he helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement, Mr Nesbitt will not contest the next election.
He has told his party he wants to move on to other things.
The South Down MLA has been involved in politics since the 1970s.
He was election agent for Brian Faulkner for four years.
A former lecturer in finance at Queen's University, Mr Nesbitt also served for many years as a member of the South Eastern Education and Library Board.
He was a member of Down District Council from 1981 to 1989, during which time he was also elected to the Northern Ireland Forum.