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EDITIONS
Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 19:02 GMT
Portrait of a political battleground
Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth is one of the main towns in Ceredigion
Ceredigion is one of the most intriguing of the Welsh parliamentary seats.

Under its previous name of Cardiganshire, it was one of Wales's staunchest Liberal strongholds, having returned MPs for that party for over a 100 years.

The only break with that tradition was when Elystan Morgan held the seat for Labour between 1966 and 1974.

In 1974, the Liberal Democrats regained control when Geraint Howells took the seat.

Cynog Dafis at the 1992 election count
Cynog Dafis at the 1992 election count
He held it until 1992, when Cynog Dafis, standing on a Plaid /Green ticket, captured it with the biggest single swing of that General Election.

Plaid Cymru had been fourth at the previous general election, but Mr Dafis turned that into a 3,193 majority, bringing Plaid Cymru's total number of MPs to four.

His win was marked by some remarkable scenes at the election count, when Geraint Howells, now Lord Geraint, warmly congratulated the man who had taken his seat from him.

Since then, despite the fact that the local Plaid/Green pact unravelled, Mr Dafis was re-elected at the 1997 General Election, polling 16,728 votes and doubling his majority to 6,961.

Labour, in its landslide year, pushed up into second place with 9,767 votes, but the Liberal Democrats fell back into third place on 6,616. Fourth were the Conservatives on 5,983, while the Referendum Party polled 1,092.
Celebrations at the 1992 general election
Celebrations at the 1992 General Election

Ceredigion is an almost entirely rural seat based on the county of the same name.

The constituency contains the university town of Aberystwyth, which is also home of the National Library of Wales, and which is regarded as a kind of cultural capital for Welsh-speaking Wales.

The university and market town of Lampeter is also within the constituency.

According to the 1991 census, a total of 59.1% of the population of Ceredigion were Welsh-speaking.

Farming controversy

Agriculture is a major employer in Ceredigion, and the recent troubles of the farming industry will be high on the agenda of many voters.

The National Assembly seat of Ceredigion is held by Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones, who had a majority of 10,249 over Labour's Maria Battle. The Independents' Dai Lloyd was third, and the Liberal Democrats fourth, followed by the Conservatives and the Green Party.

The single largest group on the Ceredigion local authority is the Independents, with 21 seats. Plaid Cymru have 13, the Liberal Democrats 7, and Labour 1, with two councillors non-aligned.

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 ON THIS STORY
AV Cynog Dafis after being elected in 1992
"A Parliament for Wales is an urgent necessity now."
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