The Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti last night launched her bid for leadership of the whole England and Wales party, one of the first to do so after Caroline Lucas revealed she would not stand for a third two-year term in the post. Liverpool’s Peter Cranie announced his candidacy at about the same time: you can read about that here.

Bartolotti’s announcement came in a Facebook status, posted at around midnight, which read:

“Well everyone, it looks as though I am standing for Green Party leader England AND Wales. It’s high time there was some healthy competition for this role, and I’m hoping several people will put their name forward. The Greens need to open up the debate and forge a robust direction. Maybe I’m too straight talking for some, but I am prepared to stand up and tell it like it is.”

Bartolotti is an activist for Palestinian rights and has been arrested by the IDF. A former fashion designer, she has run two of her own companies, and been CEO of Encrypta Electronics. After a spell doing economic development work for the Welsh Assembly Government, she spent time travelling, and writes on her profile in the Huffington Post:

“I have lived in Cuba, backpacked round India, and driven a convoy of humanitarian aid across Europe to Gaza . In Syria, though I bear no arms, they call me Mujahadeen.”

She has been leader of the Welsh Green Party since Jake Griffiths stood down last year. Before this, she was their deputy leader.

There has been speculation about a number of potential candidates for party leader, and I am reliably informed that others will announce soon. But now with, Bartolotti and Cranie declaring, we know at least we will have a contest. Brighton Councillor Alex Philips announced her candidacy for deputy leader last week.

Party rules state that the deputy leader must not be the same sex as the leader. The winners of the elections will be announced at the party’s autumn conference.