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Party of Wales Leader To Stand for Constituency Seat in 2016


Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has declared she will seek nomination for a constituency seat for the 2016 Assembly elections.

Ms Wood, who is currently a regional Assembly Member for South Wales Central, said the decision is a statement of ambition to make Plaid Cymru a party of Government in the fifth Assembly and transform the economic fortunes of the country.

Speaking during a lecture hosted by the Institute of Welsh Politics at Aberystwyth University, Ms Wood said:

“The job of the political party in modern Wales is to win power in order that it can be redistributed and re-channelled back to those who have the potential to make the biggest difference: the people themselves.

“In order to give power away, we first have to win it.  And that does mean winning seats in this imperfect, still mostly first-past-the-post majority system.

“All politics is local, said Tip O’Neill.  In Wales it’s two thirds. That’s how many of the constituency seats we have to win if we are to achieve our aim of becoming the major party of Wales.

“Leaders are called leaders for a reason.  And it is my intention to lead.

“Tonight I inform you of my intention to seek the nomination for a local constituency in the next Assembly elections.

“The exact seat is a question for another day, and that will largely be dependent on decisions taken by the grassroots members in due course.” 

Ms Wood added:  “Some will, I am sure, point out that I am giving up the relative safety of a regional seat to choose the much riskier option of a constituency battle.

But it’s a risk I believe is worth taking. Why?  Because our politics will not be renewed by the politics of safety first.

“I believe I can win.  I believe we can win.  But most importantly I believe Wales can win.

“And the conversations that I am having, my own part in that million-strong communication, have convinced me that the whole of Wales is starting to believe.

“Not in me.  Not in this party. Not in politics as usual.  But in a future that we can shape together.

“A future that will be better than the past.”

During the speech she also announced plans to develop a ‘Wiki-manifesto’ and invite would-be candidates from all walks of life to stand for the party during forthcoming elections at Europe, Westminster and Assembly level.