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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Plaid says deal back on the table
Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid Cymru leader
Ieuan Wyn Jones says Plaid must take its time on a decision
Plaid Cymru's ruling body will meet within weeks to discuss a revived coalition deal which could take Labour out of power in the Welsh assembly.

Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said the prospect of getting together with other parties was now "back on the table".

He spoke after Liberal Democrats did a U-turn and agreed to try to resurrect an opposition "rainbow alliance".

Plaid's national council will meet in July to decide on a possible agreement with the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

The likelihood of coalition had appeared to be over when the Lib Dems rejected the idea last Wednesday.

All options need to be considered, including a Plaid Cymru-led government
Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid Cymru leader

But it became a possibility again when Lib Dems met once more on Saturday and reversed that decision.

Labour fell short of a majority in the 3 May election, winning 26 of the 60 seats. Plaid have 15 AMs, Tories 12, Lib Dems six, and there is one independent.

The parties had had 28 days since the 3 May election to choose a first minister, or another election would have to be called.

On Friday, with that deadline looming and after the apparent collapse of the coalition, Labour's Rhodri Morgan was reappointed first minister.

Asked by BBC Wales' Maniffesto programme on S4C whether he would now try to depose Mr Morgan, the Plaid leader said: "You can't run before you walk".

Rhodri Morgan being reappointed first minister in the Senedd
Rhodri Morgan promised to listen to the people when reappointed
But he said it was important now that they did not have to work to the 28-day deadline.

'Stable government'

Mr Jones told Maniffesto it was important for his party to continue to consider having "a stable government" and that "all options need to be considered, including a Plaid Cymru-led government".

He also said it was vital for the party to take its time after a busy three weeks of discussions.

We are going to be looking probably at a change in government in Cardiff Bay at some point
Alison Goldsworthy, Liberal Democrat

However, Mr Jones would not be drawn on whether he would have to find a "specific reason" to criticise the Labour assembly government and then try to bring it down.

Assembly Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas, explaining why he had called AMs together to appoint the first minister before next Tuesday's deadline, said: "The internal business of political parties, no matter how big or small they may be, cannot determine the constitution of Wales.

"As soon as I had an identifiable candidate for first minister I thought the people of Wales would have wanted us to hold a plenary, elect a first minister and get on with the business of government."

A coalition has faced criticism from members of both Plaid and the Lib Dems.

They included Alison Goldsworthy, vice-chair of the Welsh Lib Dems' national executive, who said she was not ruling it out entirely, but would find it difficult to support.

Mike German is congratulated after the vote
Mike German is congratulated after Lib Dems revived the deal
"It was not a vote of implacable opposition and I do recognise that there will need to be coalitions," she said.

"I'd really rather we were in majority power. I'm in this to win more votes and being 24 I've got a fair while to try and do it."

But she said Labour was "probably living on borrowed time".

"We are going to be looking probably at a change in government in Cardiff Bay at some point, and I very much hope that that is progressive and a non-Labour alternative and is able to deliver on its promises.

"I suspect it will, because the programme will be fully costed by then."

Former Labour cabinet minister Christine Gwyther, who lost her seat at the election, said a short-lived Rhodri Morgan government was "of course" possible, but "certainly not inevitable".

She predicted that Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne might have difficulty holding the coalition together.

"I think now we have to look very carefully now at Nick Bourne to see if he can actually deliver and keep delivering that 'glue'," she said. "I think he probably can't."

Ms Gwyther urged Mr Morgan to "reach out to other parties," and "pick out parts" of the coalition proposal that Labour could support.







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