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EDITIONS
Plaid Cymru Friday, 22 September, 2000, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
'Get ready to govern', party told
Ieuan Wyn Jones, leader Plaid Cymru
Ieuan Wyn Jones faces his party's next crucial phase
Plaid Cymru President Ieuan Wyn Jones is expected to tell his party to prepare to govern Wales.

After an important 18 months for his party - following devolution and sweeping gains at the last elections - Plaid faces growing political expectations.

In his first speech as leader to the party's conference at Llandudno, Mr Jones is set to say Plaid should aim to replace Labour as the main political force in Wales.

Having gained 17 seats at the National Assembly elections last year to become the main opposition party, Plaid now faces a different challenge.

Mr Jones must take his party forward to success at the next general election, maintaining the momentum that Plaid has seen at recent elections in Wales.

Tough challenge

The party has to increase its share of the vote and the number of seats it holds at Westminster to increase its political foothold.

Mr Jones, therefore, must inspire his party on the next stage of its political upswing.

But the task of adding to the party's power base in the House of Commons could prove Plaid's toughest challenge yet.

'Comparable status'

Guto Bebb, a former chairman of Caernarfon constituency party, said the issue of self-governance of Wales remained an important one for the party.

"The current position is that we are looking for a status that is comparable with other nations in Europe," he said.

"I think we are looking at the development of a new means of governing Wales in Europe and the wider world.

"Whether that means continued links with Westminster is a matter to be discussed. We should not shy away from the issue of more power for Wales."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Simon Morris reports
"Plaid faces one of its toughest challenges yet"
Cynog Dafis, Plaid Cymru policy director
"We need to enter a new phase where there is more detail in our plans"
See also:

21 Sep 00 | Wales
20 Sep 00 | Plaid Cymru
21 Sep 00 | Plaid Cymru
21 Sep 00 | Plaid Cymru
21 Sep 00 | Plaid Cymru
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