Labour holds on to power as Plaid Cymru makes gains, UKIP wins first seats in Welsh Assembly vote

Labour's Carwyn Jones to seek coalition government · Conservatives, Liberal Democrats main losers

Despite having fallen short of an absolute majority in yesterday's election to the Welsh National Assembly, Labour maintains a wide lead over other parties and will be able to hold on to power. Another two parties have reasons too for satisfaction: Plaid Cymru makes gains both in seats and vote percentage, and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) wins its first ever seats (7) in the Welsh Assembly.

Labour yesterday managed to secure 29 seats of the 60-member Assembly. It is one less than they got in 2011. Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru became the second largest party, with 12 seats (one up). The centre-left, pro-independence party achieved a highly symbolic victory as its leader Leanne Wood won the seat of Rhondda constituency, which since 2003 has been in the hands of Labour.

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are the big losers. The Tories are left with 11 seats, down from 14 in 2011. The Libdem collapse is quite worse, as the party only retains one seat (it won 5 in 2011).

Coalition or minority government

Welsh First Minister and Labour candidate for re-election Carwyn Jones said he is ready to talk with other parties about the possibility of a coalition government. Having ruled out a deal with either the Conservatives or UKIP, a deal with Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats is Jones's only option.

In 2007, negotiations led to a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition, which lasted until 2011. But now Plaid Cymru says it does not wish a similar agreement.

As an alternative to that, Jones could be seeking a deal by which a Labour minority government would be supported in some way by Plaid Cymru.