So Kirsty Williams is the first to throw her hat into the ring for the soon-to-be vacant post of Welsh Lib Dem leader. She is supported in her bid by Mick Bates AM and Peter Black AM. The fact that these two men are supporting Kirsty means that we are now seemingly certain to see the first female leader of a Welsh mainstream party. (Did I just call the Lib Dems mainstream?)
This means that the ball now lies in Jenny Randerson and Eleanor Burnham's courts. Current Lib Dem rules state that any candidate for the job must be nominated by another AM. Unless Mike German backs one of those two as his successor (unlikely, he'll probably keep out of this one) one of them has to back down and support the other to challenge Kirsty. This may change however as the leadership election rules could be changed before nominations are due.
Eleanor Burnham would garner strong support from the North and the Welsh speakers while Kirsty's support took a big blow in the will-they-won't-they mess the Lib Dems found themselves in during coalition talks but I can't look past Kirsty for the job. We all know she's been craving this chance for at least three years and I think it's fair to say that's she's the mos likely to give the Lib Dems the boost so they have needed for years. She's young, attractive and has a much higher profile than the other two women. In a party that suffers from the lack of name/face recognition she is the most likely to be remembered by the voters.
The Welsh Lib Dems do desperately need a boost - their coalition mess has been followed by 15 months of anonymity as Labour, Plaid and the Tories take the headlines. I don't know if Kirsty will be able to give them that much needed boost, but she certainly has a much better chance of doing so than the other potential candidates.
One question though, why does the BBC refer to Kirsty as "Ms Williams"? Isn't she a Mrs?