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Last Updated: Friday, 4 April, 2003, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Moderate with a hard act to follow
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Ieuan Wyn Jones must escape the shadow of Dafydd Wigley

It is always difficult to follow charismatic, successful party leaders.

Just ask Margaret Thatcher's successor, John Major.

Although he would not relish the comparison with the Conservatives, Ieuan Wyn Jones faced a similar problem when he took over as president of Plaid Cymru in summer 2000.

He replaced Dafydd Wigley, who had led Plaid to its greatest success at the first assembly elections.

But health problems forced him to stand down, and there was only one likely winner in the subsequent election for the party presidency. Ieuan Wyn Jones was elected with a thumping 77% of the vote.

A solicitor and minister's son who is regarded as a Plaid Cymru moderate, he fought off two left-wing candidates to become leader of the main opposition party in the Assembly.

Credentials

But Mr Jones was soon facing questions about his credentials for the job.

The Ieuan Wyn Jones factfile
Born: Denbigh, 1949
Educated: Pontardawe, Liverpool
Career: Solicitor, MP
Family: Married to artist Eirian, three children

Seimon Glyn, until then a fairly obscure Plaid Cymru councillor from Gwynedd, had made controversial comments on BBC Radio Wales about inward migration into Welsh-speaking communities.

The issue was raised when Mr Jones appeared on the BBC's Question Time in Caernarfon, and he was criticised for his response, in which he at first denied that Mr Glyn had referred to English as a foreign language.

There were more problems when Plaid's then chief executive said that Mr Jones was on a learning curve in the job.

Mastermind

This all gave Mr Jones an uncomfortable initiation.

Ieuan Wyn Jones
The Plaid Cymru president won the leadership convincingly

He was, however, praised for his managerial and organisational abilities, and he helped to mastermind his party's dramatic first assembly campaign.

He continued to face criticism of a lack of charisma, but his supporters hoped he would grow in stature, as both Dafydd Wigley and Gwynfor Evans did before him.

He became MP for Ynys Mon in 1987, a seat he held until stepping down in 2001 to concentrate on the assembly.

In the meantime he had become AM for the same seat, and the strength of his personal support may be indicated by the fact that Plaid lost the parliamentary seat in 2001.

A family man whose books have included a biography of the 19th Century publisher Thomas Gee, he lists his pastimes as sport, walking and reading.




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