Italian premier Mario Monti said he will not run in February's elections, but if political parties that back his anti-crisis agenda ask him to head the next government he would consider the offer.
Mr Monti ruled out heading any ticket himself, saying "I have no sympathy for 'personal' parties".
At a news conference, he also made clear he was spurning an offer from his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi to run on a centre-right election ticket backed by the media mogul, citing Berlusconi's heavy criticism of his economic policies.
The decision ends weeks of speculation that have dominated Italian politics and preoccupied Europe, which is eager to see Mr Monti's financial reforms continue.
The premier, an economist who has spent 13 months tasked with trying to right Italy's troubled economy, said Mr Berlusconi's flipping back and forth between condemning the government's economic policies and then praising the premier convinced him that "I couldn't accept his offer".
Other centrists parties have been urging him to run for another stint as premier. Mr Monti said: "I won't line up with anyone," but made clear he was available to head the next government.
"If one or more political forces is credibly backing agenda or even has a better one, I'd evaluate the offer," he said.