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EDITIONS
Plaid Cymru Friday, 22 September, 2000, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Plaid enters 'new era'
Ieuan Wyn Jones, leader Plaid Cymru
Ieaun Wyn Jones faces his party's next crucial phase
Plaid Cymru president Ieuan Wyn Jones has told 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 said they should aim to replace Labour as the main political force in Wales.

Plaid logo
Plaid: entering "new era"

Mr Jones said Plaid is aiming to be not only the best party of Wales but also the biggest. Plaid is moving into a "new era in its history," he said.

Mr Jones also said he wanted Wales to have as much control over its affairs "as is possible and necessary".

"We want power for Wales, not for its own sake, but in order to bring about changes that can improve the lives of the people of Wales," he said.

'Fundamental principles'

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

In his speech Mr Jones assured traditionalists that the party "will not forget its fundamental principles".

But he also warned that Plaid will need a different approach: "Calling on Labour to do this and that will no longer be enough.

"What we will have to show is what Plaid Cymru will do in government."


It means not to promise more than what we will be able to deliver

Ieuan Wyn Jones

Mr Jones welcomed the way the Welsh language had become less of a party political issue in recent years.

The Welsh language should be a force to unite Welsh people and should not be used to create divisions, Mr Jones told the conference.

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

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Wyre Davies
"The partys stock has never been higher"
Plaid Cymru's chief executive Karl Davies
"There is a great deal of debate about the powers of the national assembly"
Plaid's president Ieuan Wyn Jones
"We need leadership to stand up to New Labour"
See also:

22 Sep 00 | Wales
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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