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BBC Wales's Rhun ap Iorwerth reports
"Ieuan Wyn Jones will try to lay the foundations for the next general election"
 real 28k

The BBC's Wyre Davies
"There are still many issues unresolved"
 real 56k

BBC Wales's Simon Morris reports
"The party's president will use the petrol crisis to accuse Labour of a lack of leadership"
 real 56k

Friday, 22 September, 2000, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Plaid prepare for next challenge
Ieuan Wyn Jones, leader Plaid Cymru
Ieaun Wyn Jones faces his party's next crucial phase
Plaid Cymru President Ieuan Wyn Jones is expected to tell his party to prepare to govern Wales.

After an important 18 months for his party - following devolution and sweeping gains at the last elections - Plaid face growing political expectations.

In his first speech as leader to the party's conference at Llandudno, Mr Jones is set to say they should aim to replace Labour as the main political force in Wales.

Having gained 17 seats at the National Assembly elections last year to become the main opposition party, Plaid now faces a different challenge.

Marc Phillips, Plaid Cymru party chairman
Party chairman Marc Phillips: Key role
Mr Jones must take his party forward to success at the next general election, maintaining the momentum that Plaid has seen at recent elections in Wales.

The party has to increase its share of the vote and the number of seats it holds at Westminster to increase its political foothold.

Mr Jones, therefore, must inspire his party on the next stage of its political upswing.

But the task of adding to the party's power base in the House of Commons could prove Plaid's toughest challenge yet.

'Comparable status'

Guto Bebb, a former chairman of Caernarfon constituency party, said the issue of self-governance of Wales remained an important one for the party.

"The current position is that we are looking for a status that is comparable with other nations in Europe," he said.

"I think we are looking at the development of a new means of governing Wales in Europe and the wider world.

"Whether that means continued links with Westminster is a matter to be discussed. We should not shy away from the issue of more power for Wales."

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