How is a new First Minister chosen?

Published 21/02/2024   |   Last Updated 21/02/2024   |   Reading Time minutes

At the end of 2023, Mark Drakeford MS stood down as Welsh Labour leader, and announced he’ll be resigning as First Minister.

But with the next Senedd election not until 2026, how will we select a new First Minister?

Let’s take a closer look at the process.

First, the First Minister has to resign

When the Welsh Labour leadership contest is over, on 16 March 2024, the First Minister will address the Senedd to announce his resignation. He’ll then send his resignation to the King.

Once the King has accepted, the Llywydd (Speaker of the Senedd) notifies the Senedd. This is the point when the First Minister officially resigns.

Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales

Then, it’s nomination time

Members of the Senedd gather in the Chamber. The Llywydd asks for nominations for First Minister from Members of the Senedd.

Any Member of the Senedd can nominate another to be First Minister. They usually nominate a leader of a party.

If one Member is put forward?

That person becomes the “nominee”.

If more than one Member is put forward?

All the Members of Senedd vote, except for the Llywydd and Deputy Presiding Officer (Deputy Speaker).

Once the Senedd’s picked a new First Minister, the Llywydd writes to the King recommending the “nominee” becomes First Minister.

Government ministers will stay in post, but there’ll be no Counsel General (Welsh Government’s Law Officer), until a new First Minister is appointed by the King.

The final step: the King appoints the new First Minister

Once the King appoints the new First Minister, the First Minister will then select Members of the Senedd to be ministers in the Cabinet.

And so the new Welsh Government is formed.