Wales: Final undecided legislators decline to run for Plaid Cymru party leader, leaving Rhun ap Iorwerth unopposed

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Ap Iorwerth in 2021.
Image: Senedd.

The last undecided Members of the Welsh Senedd (MSs) for the Plaid Cymru party, Sioned Williams and Siân Gwenllian, released a statement yesterday announcing neither would seek the party's leadership ahead of the June 16 deadline to stand for the MS-only position, slating Rhun ap Iorwerth to become leader unopposed June 16 unless an MS reversed their decision.

"[A] contest within a party is a good thing in almost all circumstances, but if the more experienced people didn't want to stand for various reasons, there we are", former Plaid chairman Alun Ffred Jones stated Friday in an interview with BBC Radio. "And if there is to be only one candidate, it's important that the party unites behind Rhun".

Former Plaid leader Leanne Wood had called for the next leader to be a woman, an idea Gwenllian and Williams said "we agree with", after a report into the party described an environment of misogyny, unwanted sexual behavior and intimidation, allegedly becoming more pronounced under leader Adam Price, who stepped down in May.

Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales), the third-largest grouping in the Senedd — part of Wales' devolved government — with 12 members, behind Welsh Labour's 30 and the Welsh Conservatives' 16, has expressed support for Welsh independence from the UK.

Ap Iorwerth was born in Rhondda Cynon Taf and grew up in Meirionnydd and Ynys Môn. He studied politics and Welsh at Cardiff University.