Wales politics

Four candidates nominated for Plaid Cymru leadership

Elin Jones, Lord Elis Thomas, Simon Thomas and Leanne Wood are vying to become Plaid Cymru leader
Image caption Elin Jones, Lord Elis-Thomas, Simon Thomas and Leanne Wood hope to become Plaid Cymru leader

Nominations for the Plaid Cymru leadership have closed, with four Assembly Members in the running.

Elin Jones, Leanne Wood, Lord Elis-Thomas and Simon Thomas will go on to the ballot paper.

The winner, who will be announced on 15 March, will be elected by the alternative vote system where candidates are ranked in order of preference.

Current leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, who has led since 2000, is standing down.

Nominations closed at midnight on Thursday.

The new leader will take up the reins ahead of the party's spring conference.

Mr Jones announced he would stand down after his party's poor performance at the 2011 assembly election. It lost four seats and ended up with 11, slipping to third behind Labour and the Conservatives.

Mid and West Wales AM Simon Thomas is a former MP and was a cabinet adviser in the former Labour-Plaid coalition government.

Dwyfor Meirionnydd AM Dafydd Elis-Thomas is also a former MP. He led the party in the 1980s and served as the assembly's presiding officer for 12 years.

South Wales Central AM Leanne Wood was elected in 2003 and speaks for Plaid on housing and regeneration. She is the only non-Welsh speaker among the candidates, and is learning the language.

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones was the rural affairs minister in the previous coalition government.

After nominations closed, Plaid said a recruitment drive since October had boosted its membership by 23.4% to 7,863.

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