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Ms Davidson touted as Rhodri's successor

Teacher unions have paid tribute to Rhodri Morgan, Wales's first minister, who announced this week that he would be stepping down in 2009. They have also said that they would welcome any moves to succeed him from Jane Davidson, minister for education and lifelong learning.

Rhys Williams, of NUT Cymru, said: "Mr Morgan is a charismatic leader, who always gave full backing and support to Ms Davidson in her endeavours to raise standards. He will be a hard act to follow."

Brian Rowlands, of the Secondary Heads Association Cymru, agreed: "Anything can happen in four years," he said. "But Ms Davidson has been warmly welcomed in the education brief."

Geraint Davies, Welsh secretary of NASUWT, added: "She's been in charge of a department whose power is almost totally devolved, so I think her chances are very good but she might benefit from wider experience, and moving to a different department."

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