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WELSH LABOUR STAYS DOMINANT

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The Labour Party, fighting the forthcoming elections from an all-time high in its fortunes in 1995, is expected to ...
The Labour Party, fighting the forthcoming elections from an all-time high in its fortunes in 1995, is expected to retain its hold on most Welsh councils.

The current map of Welsh council control - 14 Labour, one Plaid Cymru, three no overall control and four Independent - is unlikely to change dramatically.

Traditional Tory areas such as Monmouthshire CC and Vale of Glamorgan will inevitably provide Labour with a struggle. A 5% swing from Labour to Conservative in Monmouthshire would deprive Labour of power, for example, but it would take a double figures swing to bring the council under Tory control.

Labour is facing a strong challenge from Plaid Cymru in Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC. The renamed 'Party of Wales' is fielding a record number of candidates in this year's local elections, and is hoping to win a significant number of extra seats in Rhondda Cynon Taff, where the Labour-run council has experienced enormous difficulties.

Plaid Cymru, likely to retain control of Gwynedd Council, is also targeting Isle of Anglesey CC, where it picked up 32% of the vote in 1995 against 53.6% for Independent councillors. According to Colin Rallings of the LGC Elections Centre, 21 of 40 members of Anglesey were returned unopposed in 1995. More contests, coupled with the discrediting of the Independent administration, could threaten control.

Ceredigion CC, part of a Plaid Cymru Parliamentary constituency, is another area where the nationalist party is hoping to make significant gains.

On the basis of the most recent independent opinion polls in Wales, Labour - currently polling about 55% of the vote - is expected to win control of the Welsh Assembly, with Plaid Cymru coming from almost nowhere to become the largest opposition party.

The Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties are currently fighting it out for the third and fourth place in party rankings. Neither party controls a council in Wales, nor are they expected to after 6 May.

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