Today, the Welsh Youth Parliament announced the results of its second ever elections for young people in Wales.
Nearly 300 candidates fought for 60 seats with every single constituency in Wales facing a battle to be the area’s representative. Thousands of online votes were cast by young people during the three-week campaigning period.
As with the first ever Welsh Youth Parliament in 2018-20, 40 constituency seats were decided by the votes of young people with 20 more Members selected by partner organisations to ensure the representation of diverse groups of young people.
The successful candidates will formally take their seats in the new year when they meet each other in person for the first time at the Senedd and begin their time representing 11-17 year olds.
During their term, between 2021-2023, the Youth Parliament Members will focus their energies on three main priority issues. These are a combination of the candidates’ own stated priorities as well as matters raised by young people from conversations gathered in schools, outside events and submitted online.
By meeting regularly, consulting with young people and conducting inquiries, they will discuss the issues that matter most to young people in order to bring their views to the attention of the elected politicians of the Welsh Parliament.
Qahira Shah, the new Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Cardiff South and Penarth, said, “When I found out that I’d won, I couldn’t believe it! One month of speculation and anticipation and it was the best outcome I could have hoped for.
“Campaigning was a real eye-opener. I pushed myself into situations which I had never experienced before, such as talking to my year group and going door-to-door in my neighbourhood, searching for potential voters.
“There are so many ideas I am excited to discuss with fellow members of the Welsh Youth Parliament. I’m keen to see the change in Wales for youth; whether it’s environmental issues or tackling inequalities in society, giving a voice to the voiceless is crucial and we won’t see substantial progress until we listen and act.
“Campaigning and voting may have ended, but I’m only just beginning!”
Elin Jones MS, Llywydd of the Senedd, said, “I’m delighted to be announcing the 60 new Welsh Youth Parliament Members that will be representing the voices of young people in Wales over the next few years.
“Young people contribute greatly to our society and have just as much a stake in our country as everyone else - it is crucial that they have an opportunity to get involved in our democracy.
“The Welsh Youth Parliament provides a fantastic platform for voices and perspectives that are often ignored. It allows Wales' young people to set the agenda and focus on what matters to them.
“The Welsh Youth Parliament has been a huge success and I’m sure the Members elected today will be a credit to their constituents and all young people across Wales during this term.”