Wales

Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood defends dual candidacy plans

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Media captionLeanne Wood topped Plaid Cymru's regional list of candidates for South Wales Central in 2011

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has defended her plans to stand as both a constituency and a regional candidate in the 2016 assembly election.

She said she would "go all out" to win Rhondda, but also seek to be on Plaid's regional list for South Wales Central, as recent rule changes allow.

Candidates are no longer banned from standing in both types of seat.

It means that if Ms Wood fails to win Rhondda she is still likely to be elected via the regional list.

Labour's Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews, who currently holds the constituency seat, said he would only stand in Rhondda.

Meanwhile, another Labour AM, Alun Davies, called Ms Wood's decision "disappointing".

On a visit to the Toyota plant in Flintshire on Thursday, Ms Wood told BBC Wales: "It's something I said quite some time ago actually, it's not news.

"I intend to stand in the Rhondda, where I live, and I'll be going all out to win the first-past-the-post seat there.

"But since the rules have now changed, I will be submitting my name for the regional list as well and I would encourage other politicians to do the same."

She accused Labour politicians of "making mischief", pointing out that Mr Andrew himself stood as a dual candidate in 2003.

Image copyright Alun Davies/Twitter
Image caption Labour's Alun Davies reacted to Leanne Wood's dual candidacy decision on Twitter

In 2014, Ms Wood said she would "probably" stand as a regional and a constituency candidate if able to do so.

Of the 60 assembly members, 40 represent constituency seats and 20 are elected from five regional lists.

'Insurance policy'

Regional AMs are elected via lists of candidates submitted by political parties, in a system designed to make the overall number of AMs elected from each party more closely match their level of support from voters.

If a politician wins a constituency seat, they are removed from the regional list during the counting process.

At the 2007 and 2011 assembly elections, candidates were barred from standing for both constituencies and regional seats, following criticism that it was an "insurance policy" allowing politicians rejected by the voters in an individual constituency to become regional AMs.

In the 2011 assembly election, Ms Wood was top of Plaid Cymru's list of candidates for the South Wales Central region.

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