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Welsh Assembly Vote For First Minister Ends In Deadlock

UKIP and the Conservatives backed Plaid Cymru's efforts to block Labour's Carwyn Jones being named first minister on Wednesday.

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Welsh assembly members have failed to elect a first minister after the Conservatives and UKIP joined with Plaid Cymru to block Labour from forming a minority government.

The three parties backed backed Plaid's leader Leanne Wood rather than re-elect Labour's Carwyn Jones, who received the support of only his own party and the one Liberal Democrat member.

This led to a stalemate, with both leaders receiving 29 votes each.

Following last week's elections, Jones said he would seek to form a minority Labour government. Although the party lost one seat and overall control of the assembly – the Senedd – he added: “The result is a clear mandate to govern, and we believe that is the best option for Wales right now."

Jones said he was planning to speak to leaders from various parties but made clear that he was not seeking a coalition.

The Welsh assembly is made up of 60 members (AMs). Following last week's election, Labour has 29 AMs and Plaid Cymru has 12.

In a statement following Wednesday's vote, the Plaid group said it chose to put forward its leader after Labour refused to negotiate.

"Carwyn Jones was informed of this decision yesterday," the statement said. "Since that time, and as far as Plaid Cymru is aware, there have been no formal discussions, agreements or deals pursued between any party.

"This afternoon, the assembly failed to reach agreement on who should become first minister and form the next government.

"It is now for the parties to discuss this matter further in order to seek the best outcome for Wales."

The Welsh Lib Dems said: "Under no circumstances will we work with UKIP."

Under no circumstances will we work with UKIP. We are disappointed that Plaid seem to think that is a viable option.

Andrew Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said the fact that fewer than 16% of voters backed Labour in last week's elections meant the party "had no divine right to assume the First Ministership today."

He added: "It is for new Assembly members to explore and discuss the best way forward for the Welsh nation, which has for too long fallen behind the rest of the UK. Certainly, I sense an appetite for a new kind of collaborative Welsh politics, and would welcome further discussions to build on those which led to today's vote."

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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