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Friday, May 7, 1999 Published at 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK


The Welsh election in quotes



Vote 99 Special Coverage
The Welsh nationalists have been celebrating their success in the elections to the new National Assembly while Labour has been forced to reconsider its position in many of its traditional heartlands, although it still won the largest share of the vote.

Plaid Cymru President Dafydd Wigley was in the mood for celebrating his party's best ever election results, saying: "This is of earth-shattering proportions.


[ image: Dafydd Wigley:
Dafydd Wigley: "Earth-shattering proportions"
"Changes are taking place within Wales. It indicates people are going to use the assembly in a positive way.

"It also underlines that we need to have the full law-making powers that Scottish people are getting. People in Wales feel they are being treated as second-class."

Welsh Secretary Alun Michael said: "The message is never take anything for granted.

"Treat even the safest Labour seats as marginals. We will learn from today."


[ image: Alun Michael:
Alun Michael: "Learn from today"
Rhodri Morgan, who came second in the race to lead Labour in Wales, said of the new proportional representation system: "I think it is fair to say that a lot of people were confused by it."

Labour's Wayne David is now an unemployed politician after giving up a safe seat in the European Parliament to stand for Rhondda and being defeated by Plaid Cymru's Geraint Davies.

Mr David said: "I will be unemployed in a few weeks but I know many other unemployed people who are worse off than me.

"Now I am going to sit down, have a cuppa with my wife and work out where I go from here."

Liberal Democrat leader in Wales Mike German said: "The most important thing is that we politicians have got to form a partnership approach and work with others.

"The people of Wales have quite clearly said that they don't want any one party to have a monopoly."


[ image: Ron Davies:
Ron Davies: "Marvellous challenges"
Former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, the first assembly member to be elected, said: "There are going to be marvellous challenges in the years ahead to make the assembly work for Wales."

Peter Hain, Labour's assembly campaign manager, tried to put a brave face on his party's mid-term shock, saying: "We have to re-vamp, modernise and re-organise locally.

"I do not think the government has got its message across sufficiently to its core supporters in Wales."

Former Tory Welsh MP Nigel Evans said Mr Hain had not gone far enough in his criticism: "I do not think Peter Hain has been hard enough on himself.

"We have seen the Labour vote in key heartland areas going to the Plaid Cymru party."

Rod Richards, the Tory leader in Wales, said not winning the Clwyd West first-past-the-post seat was "disappointing"

"But that is political life," he said. "The turn out is obviously very, very low and I am convinced had this been a general election, we would have won this seat."

Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik said national 'partnership' between Tony Blair and Paddy Ashdown could lead to an inclusive style of politics in Wales.

He said: "We have gone up from the 1997 result, but it is going to be different.

"While the rest of us are trying to make hay not war, the Tories are giving us road rage."



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