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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Plaid greets new leaders
Dafydd Iwan and Ieuan Wyn Jones
A new era for Plaid Cymru begins at the conference
Plaid Cymru's new leadership team of Dafydd Iwan and Ieuan Wyn Jones are in the spotlight as the party's annual conference begins in Cardiff.

Earlier this week, Mr Iwan was unveiled as the new Plaid president, while Mr Jones won the poll to lead the party in the Welsh assembly.

Mr Jones' victory marked a remarkable turnaround, just four months since he resigned as president when Plaid lost five of its 17 seats in May's assembly election.

Party members at the three-day conference will now expect their new leaders to reveal how they intend to turn Plaid's fortunes around.

Both want to focus on the party's constitutional ambitions for Wales, with the long-term aim of full membership of the European Union.

However, the conference will see the party concentrating on the more immediate issues such as the public services, with a call for an end to a culture of target-setting within the Welsh NHS.

This party of Wales is your party and the party of everyone who has chosen Wales to have their home
Dafydd Iwan

Mr Jones used to perform the role of both president and group leader, but the role was split after he stepped down.

Party vice-president Mr Iwan beat Cynog Dafis for the presidency by 855 votes. Mr Iwan won 2,980 votes against Mr Dafis' 2,125.

Mr Jones, the assembly member for Ynys Mon, narrowly beat Helen Mary Jones by 71 votes.

He won 2,603 votes, against Helen Mary Jones' 2,532.

A third candidate, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas, polled 1,014 in the first round of votes, which were then transferred to the other candidates on the basis of the voters' second preferences.

After the result Mr Jones called on his party to unite.

Mid and West Wales AM Helen Mary Jones
Helen Mary Jones failed to take over leading the assembly group

He said Plaid must be at the forefront of the campaign to turn the assembly into a powerful parliament with greater powers.

He added: "The party must work together from top to bottom - the assembly group, at Westminster, in Europe and in local government, as a united party pulling together."

Mr Iwan said it was an "honour and a privilege" to lead the party of Welsh freedom.

He said he looked forward to the job with immense enjoyment.

"This party of Wales is your party and the party of everyone who has chosen Wales to have their home," he said.

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