The head of Sinn Féin's Stormont team would probably become deputy first minister if March's election follows the recent pattern and power-sharing is restored.
However the nominee will have to spearhead talks aimed at forming a ministerial Executive; with the DUP and Sinn Fein at odds over a host of issues including the Irish language.
Sinn Fein is expected to name a successor to Martin McGuinness
McGuinness stepped away from the political stage, citing his health problems, shortly after a bitter rift between the major parties triggered the collapse of the powersharing executive in Belfast.
While a green energy scheme financial scandal precipitated the meltdown, McGuinness has also accused former first minister Arlene Foster and other DUP members of showing disrespect to Irish culture and failing to reciprocate republican gestures of reconciliation.
McGuinness was forced to step down due to his ill health
He announced last week he is not running in the forthcoming assembly poll due to his serious illness.