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Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru (literally meaning, "party of Wales") is the original name for the Welsh Nationalist Party, founded on 5 August 1925. The name of the party was formally changed to "Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales" in the late 1990s. In Wales the party is often familiarly referred to as Plaid.

Plaid Cymru has traditionally been strongest in the Welsh-speaking areas of Wales, particularly the north; but it was at Carmarthen[?] in west Wales that the party gained its first MP, Gwynfor Evans[?] (then the party's President) being elected to Parliament in a by-election in 1966. He lost the seat to Labour in 1970, but regained it in 1974, during a period when Plaid Cymru was increasingly being seen as an alternative for Labour voters even in the industrial, mainly English-speaking southern half of Wales.

Carmarthen was lost again in 1979, and the campaign to win self-government for Wales, towards which Plaid Cymru had been somewhat ambivalent, was temporarily abandoned after the referendum on devolution was lost. After this setback, Plaid Cymru continued to make inroads. Two younger men, Dafydd Wigley[?] and Dafydd Elis Thomas[?], won Parliamentary seats, inheriting the mantle of leadership in turn, and the party gained ground until the successful devolution referendum of 1997, following which the Welsh Assembly Government[?] was set up. Plaid Cymru became the main opposition to the ruling Labour group in this new body.

In the elections of May 2003 Plaid suffered a disaster. Of their 17 AM's only 12 were re-elected. Labour won back their traditional strongholds of the Rhondda[?] and Islwyn[?], but also made shock gains in Llanelli[?] and Conwy[?], seats that Plaid were expected to hold on to. Ieuan Wyn Jones[?] resigned as party leader on the 8th of May.

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