Plaid Cymru entered the 2011 election having been a junior partner in Government for the first time in their 80-year history. They had three cabinet positions during their coalition with Labour in the One Wales Government from 2007 to 2011. In addition to holding the portfolios of Economic Development, Rural Affairs and Culture, they also held the deputy ministerial position on housing.
Their goal during the 2011 campaign was to differentiate themselves from the Labour party, reiterate its achievements in government and outline a different path. They also faced the new challenge of having implemented some of their key policies from their previous manifestos in the portfolios they held and also on Welsh Medium Education.
As with all political parties in 2011, for the first time they had to consider the newly acquired primary law making powers gained by the National Assembly for Wales and were keen to show in their manifesto how these hard gained powers could be utilized to improve public services and produce economic growth in Wales.
It proved to be a difficult argument to make, as they failed to adequately highlight their competence as a party of Government. Their leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones offered his resignation following the loss of three seats following the election after the party went back from 14 to 11 seats.