Plaid Cymru Conference: Plaid Cymru praises Lib-Lab co-operation

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The co-operation with Labour and the Liberal Democrats which helped secure a narrow "Yes" vote in last week's Welsh assembly referendum was praised in a motion passed at Plaid Cymru's annual conference yesterday.

Delegates at the meeting in Aberystwyth said they hoped the example of parties working together would continue. However, Plaid is keen to see that the assembly which is scheduled to begin work in a little over two years is given law-making and tax-varying powers similar to those proposed for the Scottish parliament. Karl Davies, the party's chief executive, said the vote last week could not have been achieved by Labour alone. "The role we played was crucial and the securing of a `Yes' vote has increased our confidence". Thirty-nine motions, ranging from calls for improvements in animal welfare to support for proportional representation, are down for debate. Today the party president, Dafydd Wigley MP, is expected to underline the nationalists' long-standing aim of achieving a self-governing Wales within the European Union.

The party appears to be on the verge of a significant development. It was founded in 1925 with the primary objective of protecting the Welsh language and culture but in recent years has moved into the mainstream of Welsh politics and attention is focusing on elections to a Welsh assembly due to be held in 1999. Mr Wigley believes the nationalists' chances will be boosted by a requirement for 20 of the 60 members to be elected by proportional representation. "I believe we could win between 8 and 12 seats," he said.