I'm Back, Says One of Our Political Greats

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 13, 2006 | Go to article overview

I'm Back, Says One of Our Political Greats


Byline: By MARTIN SHIPTON Western Mail

Dafydd wigley - under whose leadership Plaid Cymru attained its best election results - will today announce his dramatic return to frontline politics. Last night he confirmed to the Western Mail that he will seek selection for his party's North Wales regional list in next year's National Assembly election. And during an extensive interview, he both revealed his ambition to become Assembly Finance Minister in a future administration and said he would favour an all-party Assembly Government if no party wins an overall majority in 2007. Mr Wigley, the former MP and AM for Caernarfon, led Plaid to its greatest success ever in the first Assembly election seven years ago. The party won 17 seats, including a series of sensational triumphs at Rhondda, Islwyn, Llanelli and Conwy. But within a year Mr Wigley stood down as party president following a heart scare, and Plaid's popularity quickly declined. There were suggestions that senior party figures including Ieuan Wyn Jones and Cynog Dafis had been unhappy with aspects of his leadership and encouraged him to step down. In 2003 Mr Wigley left the Assembly, saying he did not wish to tread on the toes of Mr Jones, who had become his successor as party president. Now, however, he is set to return - so long as he can jump two hurdles. The first - selection by party members in North Wales - is little more than a formality. The second - election to the Assembly - cannot be taken for granted. His old seat of Caernarfon is disappearing following major boundary changes and his successor as AM, Alun Ffred Jones, will be standing in the new seat of Arfon. Mr Wigley therefore hopes to become a regional list AM for North Wales. But under Plaid's rules, the number one spot on each regional list is reserved for a woman. That means Mr Wigley will have to be placed second on the North Wales list, almost certainly after sitting AM Janet Ryder. Regional seats are meant to provide an element of proportionality to the Assembly, and are allocated after the parties' success in first-past-the-post constituency seats is taken into account. In both 1999 and 2003 Plaid was entitled to just one regional AM in North Wales. Speaking to the Western Mail from his home near Caernarfon, Mr Wigley explained why he had decided to seek selection in North Wales rather than taking the safer option of trying for a regional list seat in South Wales Central. …

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