Wales Election 2016

Welsh Assembly election: Five leaders set for battle

On 5 May, voters will, for the fifth time, elect 60 members to the National Assembly for Wales. So what shape are the main parties in?

As the campaign gets under way, their leaders have been speaking to BBC Wales Today.

Welsh Labour

  • Leader: Carwyn Jones
  • Seats won last time: 30

Labour has been the biggest party in the assembly ever since devolution - and has always been in government.

It won half the seats at the last assembly election.

But after last year's general election performance, it is under threat in several marginal constituencies.

So party insiders are concentrating on minimising losses rather than making gains.

But Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones insists the party's approach is a positive one.

"If you say to people 'vote for us because everyone else is a bit worse', that's not the way to invigorate people, to encourage people to vote," he said.

"You do it on the basis you've got the best policies, that you make people excited about the future."

Welsh Conservatives

  • Leader: Andrew RT Davies
  • Seats won last time: 14

The Conservatives picked up three extra seats in Wales at last year's general election.

So their leader here, Andrew RT Davies, is under pressure to repeat that success at this election and add to the party's tally of 14 seats.

His targets include Labour-held Cardiff North, Vale of Glamorgan and Gower in the south, and Vale of Clwyd, Delyn and Wrexham in the north.

Is he a man feeling the pressure?

"I never feel pressure," he said.

"I enjoy and thrive on every minute in the political bubble I live in.

"And what we've got to be doing is making sure that people know Welsh Conservatives are with them and on their side."

Plaid Cymru

  • Leader: Leanne Wood
  • Seats won last time: 11

Another party with reason to feel pressure is Plaid Cymru.

It lost four seats last time around after being in coalition government with Labour, and the party made little progress at the general election despite Leanne Wood's UK-wide media exposure.

It has got its sights on Labour-held Llanelli and Rhondda and is also targeting Aberconwy from the Conservatives.

So how vital does Leanne Wood think this election is to the party after its disappointment last year?

"Progress at any time is important and, of course, we don't enter into elections with a view to not doing well," she says.

"But this election is one we've been building up to for some time."

Welsh Liberal Democrats

  • Leader: Kirsty Williams
  • Seats won last time: 5

For the Lib Dems, this is a battle for their very existence in Cardiff Bay.

The party lost 49 of its 57 MPs last year.

It will be mainly concentrating on its mid Wales heartlands in the hope of clinging on to a meaningful number of AMs.

Kirsty Williams does not deny the party's future is at stake.

"It is a very tough election for the Welsh Liberal Democrats," she says.

"And if people value having a liberal voice in Welsh politics, they need to go out there and vote for it."

UKIP Wales

  • Leader: Nathan Gill
  • Seats won last time: None

The proportional element of the voting system suits UKIP.

While any constituency wins would be a big shock, the party will elect several regional AMs if it manages to get a similar percentage of the vote in Wales as it did at the general election last year.

Nathan Gill rejects the suggestion the party will not have a purpose after the European referendum.

"Devolution has not worked for the people of Wales," he said.

"We've had 16 years of failure due to Labour.

"We've had very weak opposition here in the assembly.

"We want to be a strong opposition."