Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Monday, 5 April 2010 11:50 UK

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones rides challenges

Ieuan Wyn Jones
Ieuan Wyn Jones has represented Ynys Mon as MP or AM since 1987

When Ieuan Wyn Jones was first elected leader of Plaid Cymru in 2000 few would have predicted not only he would still be in charge a decade later, but that he would also be the deputy first minister and in charge of the Welsh economy.

Seen by many as a poor public speaker and uncharismatic politician, the former Anglesey MP - who is now the island's AM - was seen as a stop-gap choice following a period of internal party wrangling.

Following a poor performance in the 2003 Welsh assembly election he stepped down as leader. But he stood again later in the year, and won the post back after narrowly surviving a leadership challenge, and was stripped of part of his role.

Behind the scenes though, he is regarded as a strong party manager and strategist and he has led a drive to modernise both the party's organisation and image.

Ieuan Wyn Jones
Born: 1949
Educated: Pontardawe, Bala, Liverpool, London
Qualifications: Solicitor
Elected: Ynys Mon MP 1987-2001; Ynys Mon AM 1999 - present
Political roles: Plaid Cymru leader, 2000 - present; Welsh Assembly Government deputy first minister, 2007 - present

Plaid decided to portray its leader as a "dependable country solicitor" in the 2007 assembly election campaign, and the party recovered much of the ground it had lost four years earlier.

Following that election Mr Jones played a pivotal role in persuading his party to accept a junior role in a Labour-led administration, spurning the chance of leading the assembly government himself in a deal with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Mr Jones rejected the so-called "rainbow coalition", fearing that it might prove dysfunctional and that striking a deal with the Conservatives could damage the party's long-term prospects in industrial south Wales.

As economic development minister Mr Jones has been praised for some innovative programmes to counter unemployment following the credit crunch, particularly the ProAct scheme, which subsidies training for employees.

His oversight of the transport portfolio has proven more controversial, with AMs critical of his emphasis on north-south transport links, particularly an air service linking his own Ynys Mon constituency to Cardiff.

While Mr Jones is certain to lead his party in the 2011 assembly election, he is widely expected to leave his leadership role at some stage during the next assembly term.

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