Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said a candidate from the party for the Presidency would embody what he called the broad democratic, republican spirit of the nation.
However, he said were the party to decide to enter the race its candidate would not campaign on a Sinn Féin platform.
He was speaking ahead of the new Dáil term.
Sinn Féin is poised to enter the race for the Presidency, and the party will make a formal decision on candidates this week.
Mr Adams said there had been no formal discussion about who Sinn Féin might field, but he ruled himself out.
Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald also ruled herself out.
Mr Adams told reporters that President Mary McAleese had set the bar very high; the presidency was now respected across the Island and was now genuinely a national position.
She had opened up Áras an Uachtaráin to all sections of society, he said.