The Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential race is likely to get a bit more crowded following Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s surprise decision Friday to bow out.

With the incumbent’s withdrawal from the race, a significant obstacle has been removed for members of the Suga administration and other leading LDP hopefuls to enter the contest. Campaigning for the party’s presidential poll officially kicks off Sept. 17, culminating in an election on Sept. 29.

Suga’s abrupt departure from the fray could put candidates already announcing their bids — former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi — at a disadvantage as they are forced to rethink campaign strategies tailored to beating Suga.