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BBC Wales's Matthew Evans reports
"Helen Mary Jones is a well known figure within Plaid Cymru"
 real 28k

Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Plaid candidate announces manifesto
Helen Mary Jones and Ieuan Wyn Jones
Helen Mary Jones will challenge Ieuan Wyn Jones
Helen Mary Jones formally launched her campaign to be president of Plaid Cymru saying she wanted law-making and tax-raising powers for Wales.

Answering questions at a press conference at the Cardiff Bay Hotel she said her ultimate constitutional aim was that no laws affecting Wales would be made at Westminster.

And she said no taxes would be raised in Wales by Westminster - only by Wales and Europe.

Asked why she would be a better president than Ieuan Wyn Jones she said it was important for Plaid to extend its appeal.

The Llanelli AM said people had urged her to stand against "the usual suspects" who led Plaid Cymru.


Dafydd Wigley AM
Dafydd Wigley: Stepping down

Ms Jones said she believed the party should not overreact in coming to a decision about whether to split the role of party president and Assembly group leader after Dafydd Wigley's resignation on health grounds.

The right mechanism for deciding was the party's ongoing review of its constitution, which will culminate at a special National Council meeting in November, she said.

Earlier, in a statement read out to the press, she said she had consulted widely with friends about her decision and had been persuaded a contested election would be good for the party.


Jill Evans
Jill Evans - still undecided over future

Ms Jones said her priority would be social justice, promoting equality, fighting poverty and building communities.

She will be publishing a manifesto within the next two weeks.

Ms Jones is considered an outsider for the post of the party's president.

AM and MP for Ynys Mon, Ieuan Wyn Jones, is 1-3 favourite to win the leadership race.

MEP Jill Evans is also being suggested as another possible successor to Mr Wigley.

Welsh bookmakers Jack Brown's are giving odds of 3-1 on Ms Jones. Third favourite, Ms Evans, who has yet to announce whether she will stand, has gone from 25-1 to 6-1.

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See also:

31 May 00 | Wales
A passion for politics
31 May 00 | Wales
Plaid Cymru leader steps down
16 Apr 00 | Wales
MP backs Plaid power call
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