When Plaid Cymru started looking for a brand-new president in 2011, Leanne Wood faced rival candidates sanded in the party’s Welsh-speaking heartlands.
But it became apparent that Plaid members wanted change.
They saw it offered by a left winger from a non-Welsh speaking background in the former industrial hollows of south Wales.
She won a decided victory and took the Labour stronghold of Rhondda, her home patch, at last year’s assembly election.
But success with the wider electorate in the rest of Wales has not come so readily.
Born in 1971 to mothers Jeff and Avril, she and her sister Joanna were raised in the hamlet of Penygraig.
She still live there with her spouse, Ian, and daughter, Cerys.
Their private life is just that – private.
Though she has spoken regularly about how her working-class upbringing determined her politics, she impedes her family away from the media.
Understanding why she has abode so close to dwelling is crucial to understanding her politics, says Plaid AM Adam Price, a long-time friend and ally.
“She witnesses the role of a politician that you represent the people in whose community you live and you have a real feel of what matters to them because you live among them, ” he says.
Witnessing the decline of those communities and the miners’ strikes of the 1980 s was a political awakening.
She has recalled how her father was laid off from the builders’ ground where he worked, and talked about its own experience of joining a separate queue free of charge institution dinners.
“I know what it is struggling makes, ” she wrote on her website.
While at Tonypandy Community College – or “Pandy Comp” – she had no aim of going into politics, daydream instead of becoming a Tv newsreader. Moira Stuart was a role model.
She left school at 16 and got a job in a factory making artificial blooms.
Low pay and poor conditions convinced her to go back and survey for A levels.
For numerous politicised young person from that background, there was a well-trodden course into the Labour Party.
But some belief going rid of Margaret Thatcher was not enough.
They decided fundamental changes were needed to the acces influence operates in the UK.
Who is Leanne Wood?
Date of birth: 13 December 1971( aged 45)
Job: Probation policeman, university professor, Plaid Cymru leader since 2011
Education: Left Tonypandy Comprehensive at 16 – remembered as “clever” and “great fun” – to work in a factory. Returned to education and graduated from the University of South Wales
Family: Partner Ian and 12 -year-old daughter Cerys Amelia
Hobbies: Grants, where she develops her own veggies. Beer enthusiast and member of the Campaign for Real Ale. Musical savors include Catatonia( as seen in “van share” with Victoria Derbyshire ), Massive Attack, Bob Marley and Bach. Favourite single … anti-monarchist chants God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols
A colleague who has worked closely with her says Leanne Wood ascertained poverty arrived here the depressions and concluded that “it would never be a priority for a Westminster government and the answers were to be found here in Wales – that we would have to plough our own furrow, influence our own future”.
“We were vacated, effectively, by the Labour Party, and attempting a brand-new political home, ” says Adam Price.
When they found that home, they discovered Plaid could claim its own habit of progressive left-wingers.
Among them was the economist DJ Davies, a founding father of the working party who wrote about the economics of Welsh independence. Leanne Wood quotes him as an influence.
After investigating at what is now the University of South Wales in nearby Pontypridd, she became a probation policeman.
She was a local councillor, worked for the Plaid MEP Jill Evans, and chided in social program at Cardiff University, before being elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2003.
The year before, in 2002, her boyfriend, David Ceri Evans, took his own life.
Years eventually, she spoke to ITV’s Good Morning Britain about address the misfortune, saying it was “something that is informative to politics because I conclude my own experience having run as a probation patrolman as well has meant that I’ve accompanied some real difficult suffers that beings have had to live through”.
Anyone who had never matched her before she became an AM could be in no doubt about Ms Wood’s politics when she arrived in Cardiff Bay.
A republican, she was once kicked out of the chamber for calling the Queen “Mrs Windsor”.
She was arrested in 2007 at an anti-nuclear protest against the Faslane naval basi.
And in the same time she was among four Plaid AMs opposed to a coalition with the Conservatives.
Eventually, the then Plaid leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones, took the party into a organization with Labour.
In her own words
Mounting things straight in a leaders’ Tv conversation when UKIP’s Paul Nuttall retained getting her epithet incorrect: “I’m not Natalie, I’m Leanne” Telling BBC Wales that Brexit was not the only thing on voters’ brains before May’s local elections: “Most people talk about hound poo” Her verdict on the Queen’s speech in December 2004: “We are more at risk now than we have ever, ever been before and the measures outlined in Mrs Windsor’s speech will not address this risk” Meal times at Tonypandy Comprehensive School: “We were stigmatised for having free academy snacks. We used to have to stand in a separate queue from the children” At Plaid Cymru’s conference in Newport this year: “If you live here and you want to be Welsh then as far as we are concerned, “you think youre” Welsh and your privileges will be defended by the Party of Wales” Image caption Image caption Image caption