Wales politics

Plaid Cymru: Voting starts in leadership contest as ballot papers go out

Ballot papers have been sent out in the Plaid Cymru leadership election.

With three weeks of campaigning left, the three Welsh assembly members vying for the role have set out their views on water, Welsh independence and nuclear power.

Lord Elis-Thomas, Elin Jones and Leanne Wood will attend a final campaign hustings in Neath on Thursday evening.

The successor to current leader Ieuan Wyn Jones will be announced on March 15.

Mr Jones said he was standing down after disappointing elections results for Plaid last year.

Appearing alongside his two rivals on the BBC News Channel, Lord Elis-Thomas underlined his support for nuclear power - an industry that employs 600 people at a decommissioning site in his Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency.

Although many in the party oppose nuclear power, Lord Elis-Thomas said: "It gives us the opportunity, the timescale, the 20 years which we desperately need, to build up that low to zero-carbon economy."

Ceredigion AM Ms Jones said Wales should have control of its natural resources, including the right to export water to the rest of the UK "at a fair price".

Rural affairs minister in the last Welsh government, she said: "I have had some experience in government, but I see myself as an ambitious and bold politician."

Calling for a "long-term economic plan" for Wales, South Wales Central AM Ms Wood said: "There's a lot of detail and substance to my campaign.

"Independence is a means to an end, not an end in itself - independence so we can sort out our weak economy."

The election is taking place under an alternative vote system which allows party members to rank candidates in order of preference.

If there is no clear outright winner in the ballot, second and third preference votes will be counted.

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