What is the Senedd (Welsh Parliament)?
Following the election of Tony Blair’s Labour government in 1997, a referendum was held in Wales over whether there was support for the establishment of a national assembly. Although a referendum had previously been held in 1979 it had been defeated, but this time a majority voted in favour. As a result the Government of Wales Act 1998 saw the creation of the Welsh Assembly.
The Senedd (Welsh Parliament – formerly known as the Welsh Assembly) is based in Cardiff Bay, and has power in a number of devolved areas, most notably health, education, housing, and transport. It is made up of 60 Members of the Senedd (scroll down for more info on elections), some of whom belong to the Welsh Government.
The Welsh Government is elected by the people of Wales to “carry out a programme of government”, this involves developing and implementing policies and laws for Wales. MS’ who do not belong to the Government will scrutinise their work and may put forward their own policies. All MS’ also have a responsibility for representing their constituents (you).
What is the Welsh Parliament responsible for?
In recent years more tax raising powers have been devolved to the Welsh Government, including income tax, land transaction tax, and landfills disposals tax. The Welsh Government is also exploring what further taxes it might implement with its new powers.
Senedd (Welsh Parliament) Elections
The way the Welsh Parliament is elected is a little more complicated than in the rest of the UK. The Parliament has 60 elected Members of the Senedd (MS). Elections take place every four years and each registered voter has two votes.
Your two votes will decide the five Members of the Senedd that represent you in the Parliament. You’ll get one vote to decide who will be the MS for for your constituency (local area), and a second vote which will decide the makeup of the four MS’ that represent your region (either North Wales, Mid and West Wales, South Wales West, South Wales East or South Wales Central). Find your Members here.
In the election, eligible voters are given two votes – one to elect your constituency MS, and the other to determine who will represent your larger region.
To vote in the Senedd election, you must be:
- A registered voter
- Over 16 years old on the day of election
- Live in Wales