Morgan set to return as first minister

Rhodri Morgan has accepted the nomination as Welsh first minister, after the spectre of a rainbow coalition collapsed.

Welsh AMs met today to select their first minister and Mr Morgan emerged as the only credible candidate after three weeks of political negotiation.

With 26 of the assembly’s 60 seats, the Labour leader will lead a minority government. However, he said today he would “reach out to other parties” and told the BBC he would seek to build a “progressive consensus”.

Accepting the nomination, Mr Morgan promised to listen to Welsh voters, telling AMs: “I am not the boss – the people are the boss.”

Mr Morgan acknowledge the challenges of minority government and said he would work “slowly and humbly” to find the political “centre of gravity” in Wales.

Labour originally sought to form a coalition with Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats, but this collapsed after Mike German’s Lib Dems pulled out of talks.

Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones then attempted to lead a coalition government, entering into talks with the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

However, the Liberal Democrats also pulled out of a coalition government, prompting an angry response from Mr Jones who accused them of lacking credibility.

Both Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems abstained from the first minister vote at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, leaving Mr Morgan clear to continue as first minister.

AMs had until May 30 to choose a first minister or automatically trigger a second assembly election.

Although he will be leading a minority government, Mr Morgan told the BBC he expected to have an easier time than the Scottish first minister Alex Salmond who is leading a minority SNP government in Scotland.