Kingston (Jamaica): Jamaica's governing party has announced that Prime Minister Bruce Golding will step down as leader in the coming weeks, possibly averting a rebellion from ruling party members that could have led to his ouster.

Golding would resign once a new leader of the Jamaica Labor Party is elected. The party's leader automatically becomes the prime minister.

The announcement was made on Sunday in a brief statement from the party, which said Golding informed its central executive committee of his decision at a quarterly meeting in the capital of Kingston.

The 63-year-old Golding is a veteran lawmaker who was expected to lead his party into the 2012 general elections.

"(Golding) said the challenges of the last four years have taken their toll and it was appropriate now to make way for new leadership to continue the programmes of economic recovery and transformation while mobilising the party for victory in the next general elections," the party statement said.

Dennis Meadows, a senator and member of the Jamaica Labour Party's executive committee, said there has been an "overwhelming response" for Golding to stay on as party leader.

"He feels the chances of the party winning the next elections are at a disadvantage with him at the head, but there's no questioning of his competence," Meadows said.

Education Minister Andrew Holness, also from the Labor Party, dominated a poll conducted earlier this year asking islanders who should lead the Caribbean country if Golding were to step down.