Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi’s decision to formally dissolve his faction Wednesday epitomizes his fall from grace as a potential successor to Fumio Kishida as party chief and possibly prime minister, experts say.

Motegi, who never sought to conceal his aspirations for the top spot, has intensified his efforts to strengthen his foothold within the party ahead of September’s presidential election. However, stripped of support from his faction, his prospects for the post may be dwindling.

On Wednesday, the Motegi faction met for one last time at the party’s headquarters and reportedly agreed on an official break-up. The group will cease to exist legally as a political body, close its office and stop assigning duties to its members.