Y Siambr

Y Siambr

Major changes to the Senedd approved

Published 08/05/2024   |   Last Updated 08/05/2024   |   Reading Time minutes

Today (Wednesday 8th May), MSs approved some of the most significant reforms to democracy in Wales since the creation of the Senedd in 1999. 

Commenting on passing of the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill, Elin Jones MS, Llywydd of the Senedd, said, “As we mark 25 years of devolution this week, today’s vote represents the start of the next chapter in the story of Wales’s democracy.  

“The Senedd today is a very different place compared with the National Assembly of 1999. We now have a fully-fledged parliament with law-making and tax-varying powers, but our capacity to represent the people of Wales and to hold the government to account hasn’t grown at the same pace.  

“The changes supported today by a clear majority of Members will ensure a stronger, more effective Senedd for the 21st century.”  

The Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill increases the size of the Senedd, changes the voting system and moves to a four-yearly election cycle. It was first introduced to the Senedd by the Welsh Government in September 2023. The proposals contained in the Bill were then examined in detail by a cross-party committee.  

After being debated and amended by all MSs in two plenary sessions, the Bill was given final approval by Members of the Senedd today.

Because the law changes the way Members are elected, it required a two-thirds ‘supermajority’ to pass. When this is required, both the Presiding and Deputy Presiding Officer are entitled to vote; this led to the final result being 43 votes for, 16 votes against.  

Next month, the Bill will be given Royal Assent, which is when The King formally agrees to make it law. 

Changes to the system 

Current system 

System from 2026 

60 Members in total - 40 representing constituencies and 20 representing larger regions. 

96 Members in total – 16 constituencies being represented by 6 Members each. 

One vote in the constituency, one vote in the regional list. 

One vote in the constituency.  

People choose an individual candidate at the voting booth for the constituency vote and a political party (or independent) for the regional vote. 

Unless voting for an independent candidate, people choose a political party to vote for, with the elected representatives coming from lists decided by parties. The names of all candidates will appear on the ballot paper.  

Senedd elections every 5 years. 

Senedd elections every 4 years. 

Members/candidates are not required to be resident in Wales. 

Members/candidates must be registered to vote in Wales.