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BAR ON WELSH ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES 'IS UNDEMOCRATIC'

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The Plaid Cymru leader of Gwynedd Council, Alun Ffred Jones, has criticised proposals that would prevent a large nu...
The Plaid Cymru leader of Gwynedd Council, Alun Ffred Jones, has criticised proposals that would prevent a large number of public sector staff standing for the national assembly of Wales, reports The Western Mail (p7).

Mr Jones said the Welsh Office consultation paper on assembly membership was an attack on democracy. He said that while he accepted there was a need to bar some public sector officers from being candidates, the consultation paper had gone too far.

He said that the paper - as well as disqualifying a number of workers in the public sector from being candidates - also proposed to prevent staff of 14 quangos from seeking to become assembly members.

'All parties have stressed the need to secure the best standard of candidate for the Welsh general election. Through preventing so many individuals from standing in the election, the government is undermining this aim,' he said.

Mr Jones said the government's approach should be more flexible. 'There are strong arguments in favour of barring chief officers from being candidates. But the vast majority of staff should be allowed to exercise the basic democratic right to stand in an election.

'Those individuals who are elected to the assembly should then have to resign from their public sector post,' he added.

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