THE BRONX - Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday that he is leaving the Republican Party and will be registering as unaffiliated.

Bloomberg says he has always taken a non-partisan approach to leading the city. He believes that by becoming an independent he can work with all political parties to find common ground and achieve real results to problems faced by the city.

The move has fueled speculation that Mayor Bloomberg may throw his hat into the ring for the 2008 presidential race. Bloomberg, however, has denied the claim.

This is not the first time Bloomberg has changed parties. The lifelong Democrat switched to the Republican Party before the 2001 mayoral election.