Ceredigion County Council this morning voted Plaid Cymru’s Ellen ap Gwynn (pictured) as Council Leader.
The 19 Plaid Cymru councillors elected on May 3rd have agreed to work with the main Independent group of 12 to form an administration. They have been joined by a breakaway group of two Independents, Llais Annibynnol, consisting of Dafydd Edwards (Llansantffraed) and Dai Mason (Trefeurig). Labour’s Hag Harris has also joined the coalition.
The opposition will be formed by the seven Lib Dems and one ungrouped Independent (Aled Davies, Aberystwyth Rheidol).
The coalition has been the subject of intense discussions for the last seven days in which everyone has been talking to everyone else, with no groups excluded, in an effort to come up with a workable arrangement for running the County. Although no group succeeded in winning an overall majority at the election, most councillors recognise that much of the public wants to see change.
The final arrangements essentially hinge on the mathematics resulting from the decision of Llais Annibynnol and Labour to break away from the Independent/Lib Dem group they had been a part of for the last few years together with the need for the ruling group to have a significant majority with which to form an administration. No-one would have predicted the coalition outcome that’s been arrived at but negotiations have been an exercise in the art of the possible.
Ellen ap Gwynn, councillor for Ceulanamaesmawr to the North of Aberystwyth, said in her press statement:
"I’m grateful for the support received from my colleagues in the chamber today to be elected as Ceredigion County Council’s new leader – the first Plaid Cymru politician to do so. This moment also heralds a fresh start for Ceredigion with Plaid Cymru at the helm of a new coalition to run the county.
"I intend to be an inclusive leader, and we will work hard to ensure that Ceredigion people feel involved in Council decisions. We commit to holding full consultation with local residents on any new developments and initiatives so that their views and needs are taken into account in the decision-making process.
"I’m particularly pleased to have attracted the support of the group of Independent councillors on the Council, as well as that of the new political group ‘Llais Annibynnol / Independent Voice’, and Ceredigion’s only Labour councillor.
"We held discussions with all political parties and while I fully appreciate that those who decided not to work with us have the prerogative to do so, I intend to work across political divides to try and get consensus at the heart of the decision-making process in Ceredigion".
Arthur Dafis, chair of Plaid Cymru’s constituency committee in Ceredigion, added:
"Plaid Cymru campaigned to get a fresh start for Ceredigion in the recent local elections. We have now secured a change in the formation of the Council’s Cabinet with a Plaid Cymru leader in charge for the first time ever. This is a major development for Ceredigion and I congratulate Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn on securing majority support for her leadership in the Council chamber.
"Plaid Cymru wants to secure the best governance for Ceredigion and I want to see Ellen and her coalition working with people of all political persuasions to ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of Ceredigion people”.