Published Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Peter Robinson signalled his intent to continue to lead the DUP. (© PA)
Speaking ahead of the party conference later this week, the 63-year-old First Minister signalled his intent to run once again for his East Belfast seat in 2015 or 2016.
However he ruled out the idea of staying at Stormont as long as his predecessor, Ian Paisley, who retired in his 80s.
Mr Robinson said: "I certainly feel very comfortable in terms of physically and mentally being able to do the job.
When you get to my age there comes a time when you would like to take things a bit easier but I have fairly clear objectives in my mind of things that I would like to see in place.
"I want to ensure that my standing down would not affect the forward momentum of our progress here in Northern Ireland. I want to ensure that I hand over a party that's in a strong position and I want to do everything that I can to ensure that the Union is secure.
"So I look at issues more on the basis of what would be the perfect conditions to hand over.
"I may not get that level of perfection but at least I hope to be able to hand over at a stage when we are on safe ground.
"Ian obviously had decisions to take and he wanted to see the Assembly set up and in a secured position before he decided to stand down. I don't think that I will have to wait 10 or 15 years in order to do that."
However the DUP leader added that he will not be seeking to recapture his Westminster seat, lost to Alliance in 2010 - although he is confident a candidate from his party can.
"I think the Lord was kind to me when he took that responsibility away from me and it has given me the kind of time that allows me to do this job more properly," he continued.
"Certainly I am planning on the basis of standing in the next Assembly election whether that is in 2015 or 2016."
As for whether he plans on remaining in public life once his political career is over, Mr Robinson explained that he simply hasn't thought that far ahead yet.
He said: "As I haven't thought in great deal about the standing down element, I certainly haven't thought in any detail at all as to what happens thereafter.
"I don't think any of us should take for granted that the length of our own lives is not in our own hands."