Vote 2011: Welsh assembly election round-up - week one

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Politicians are crossing Wales in the hunt for votes in the assembly election campaign.

Electors will go to the polls on 5 May to choose the 60 AMs who will sit in the fourth assembly since the institution was founded in 1999.

All the main parties have plenty to play for, not least as a result of coalitions in both Cardiff and Westminster: Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru hitched their wagon together in the assembly government four years ago, while Conservatives and Liberal Democrats did the same at the UK level last year after the general election.

With the race towards the finishing line in Cardiff Bay well under way, here is a look back on the first full week on the hustings.


Monday was the day of Welsh Labour's first press conference of the election campaign where party leader Carwyn Jones said a "comfortable working majority" was within his party's grasp.

Given that Labour was forced into coalition after winning 26 out of 60 seats last time around, Mr Jones's prediction got reporters' attention.

As did the excellent bacon rolls on offer at Labour's Cardiff headquarters.

By this time, the Welsh Conservatives had already officially launched their election campaign - the first party to do so - and welcomed David Cameron to a rally in Swansea the previous week.

Tuesday saw the emergence of a mysterious leaflet that instructs voters how to vote tactically to stop Labour winning a majority.

It sparked a war of words between Labour and Plaid, who strongly denied having any connection with it whatsoever. It has been doing the rounds on the internet, but the author remains anonymous.

All this was going on while the Welsh Liberal Democrats launched their election campaign with a promise to "focus relentlessly" on the economy.

No-one on the BBC Wales election desk reads Greek. Although one colleague's father does speak ancient Greek and Latin.

Shame he wasn't around the newsroom on Wednesday, because he could have helped translate an email from the Welsh Conservatives. For some reason they answered a question about their tourism policies in Greek.

Perhaps it was meant as joke. Anyway, we were baffled and had to go and cover Plaid's election campaign launch in north Wales where party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said his party was ready to "transform" Wales.

Labour launched its campaign at simultaneous events in north and south Wales.

Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said this election was an opportunity to bloody the nose of the UK coalition government.

Thursday also gave us the first poll of the campaign, courtesy of pollsters rmg:Clarity for the Western Mail.

It gave Labour a leader over the other parties, but found more than half of people would like to see the assembly have powers to raise and lower taxes - something Labour is opposing in this campaign.

Liberal Democrat leader hit the campaign trail Nick Clegg, lending his support to candidates in south, mid and north Wales in a blizzard of visits to target seats.

Meanwhile, Welsh party leaders were at a round-table event at Cardiff's Central Library for BBC Radio 4.

Showing an admirable ability to multi-task, Tory leader Nick Bourne used the event to return some library books. As did our political editor Betsan Powys.