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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 15:09 GMT
Post devolution politics
Phil Parry on Wales
BBC Wales correspondent Phil Parry examines the issues surrounding the first general election in Wales post devolution.

Welsh assembly

Devolution has meant that it's the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff and not Westminster which now decides on a whole range of issue affecting Wales. Devolution has also changed the way all elections are fought in Wales. Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru made spectacular gains following devolution. Other parties will now be hoping to re-gain votes and seats.

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National identity

No one doubts Wales' long, proud history and each of the parties will be playing the Welsh card in this election. The Conservatives will stress the union within the UK, whilst the Liberal Democrats will point to their own strong Welsh identity. Labour holds the most seats in Wales - but will be challenged strongly by Plaid Cymru.

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Rural economy

Foot and mouth restrictions have only added to the continuing rural crisis in Wales. The knock-on effects have been enormous for a whole range of small businesses. Voters will want to know which party will bring hope of new prosperity in the countryside of Wales.

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Industry

The Welsh industrial economy has been battered during the last few years. But it's the state of the steel industry, perhaps more than anything else, which has enraged politicians and voters alike. Thousands are losing their jobs as Corus cuts its Welsh workforce. The big question now is not whether those jobs can be saved, but what new work can be provided and voters will be looking to Westminster for answers.

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