Washington: The Republican party is headed for an open convention that could see a faceoff between rival camps to pick a presidential nominee, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said, suggesting frontrunner Donald Trump might not get the required delegates by the July gathering.
"This is more likely to become an open convention than we thought before," said Ryan, who is also the chairman of the convention to be held in Cleveland in July, yesterday.
At this convention, Republican party's 2,472 delegates elected from across the country through primaries and caucuses nominate their presidential candidate with a majority vote.
As of now, controversial real-estate tycoon Donald Trump has the most (673) delegates. He is followed by Senator Ted Cruz (411) and Ohio Governor John Kasich (143).
To cross the half-way mark, Trump needs to win a little over 50 per cent of the delegates left in contention, while the figure climbs up to 80 per cent for Cruz and an impossible 114 per cent for Kasich.
Political pundits say there is a possibility of Trump not reaching the halfway mark, as a result of which the nominee would be elected at the convention ? a rare development in the party. The last contested convention was in 1976.
Such a convention is called "open" or "brokered" or "contested" convention as after the first round of voting the delegates are open to vote for any candidate.
Many also fear horse-trading during the convention.
"We are getting our minds around the idea that this could very well become a reality, and therefore those of us who are involved in the convention need to respect that," Ryan said.
"I will have to obviously bone up on all the rules and all of those things," he said.
"My goal is to be dispassionate and to be Switzerland -- to be neutral and dispassionate, and to make sure that the rule of law prevails, and to make sure that the delegates make their decision however the rules require them to do that. I will acquaint myself with these things at the right time," Ryan said.
However, the Trump campaign thinks they would be able to get through the necessary number of delegates before the convention and as such there would be no need of a contested convention.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, hoped there is unlikely to be a brokered convention.
"I would tell you is that if someone gets the majority of delegates, of bound delegates before the convention, they're going to be the nominee. There's no doubt about that," Priebus told Fox News.