Welsh Parliament

Increasing the capacity of the Senedd was a major success

Hefyd ar gael yn: Cymraeg

The Road to Senedd Reform

ERS Cymru has long campaigned to increase the size of the Senedd. We published Size Matters, jointly with the UK’s Changing Union project (a partnership including Cardiff University Wales Governance Centre and the Institute of Welsh Affairs) in 2013, which set out the case for increasing the number of MSs from 60 to 100.

Our 2016 report, Reshaping the Senedd, looked at how these additional members might be elected. It recommended that the Single Transferable Vote or a particular version of Open List would best provide the basis for a stable and lasting electoral system for the Welsh Parliament.

Since then calls for reform gathered steam, with an Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform Recommending 80-90 members, elected through the Single Transferable Vote, with strong diversity measures in place.

A Committee of politicians also endorsed this in 2020, publishing their report Senedd Reform: the Next Steps.

Following the 2021 Senedd elections, Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru announced a commitment on Senedd reform as part of their Cooperation Agreement

A separate cross party Senedd committee was also established to look at how the Senedd could be reformed. 

In May 2022, Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price, confirmed they had agreed a way forward on Senedd reform

The Special Purpose Committee endorsed this agreement just weeks later in their final report, “Reforming our Senedd: a stronger voice for the people of Wales”. 

That report recommended:

  • An increase in the size of the Senedd to 96 members
  • A change to electoral systems to Closed List Proportional Representation
  • Integrated gender quotas
  • 16 new multi-member constituencies, each electing 6 members. 

Ahead of this report being debated in the Senedd, ERS drafted a briefing to Members of the Senedd. The report passed the Senedd with over a two thirds majority, and Welsh Government have confirmed they are currently drafting legislation to reform the Senedd by 2026.

A victory for voters

Thankfully, in part due to our decade long campaign, the Senedd has recently passed the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Act, which will see the Senedd increase to 96 members, change the boundaries to create 16 new constituencies and move to a Closed Proportional List system for the next elections in 2026. 

We have significant concerns that the Closed List system the act brought in will remove voter choice as voters will not be able to vote for individual candidates. Opening up or making lists more flexible, so that voters can still back their favoured individual candidate would remedy many of these concerns and possibly create a more sustainable system.

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Date published
17/11/23
Submission for

Elections and Elected Bodies (Wales) Bill – Written Evidence

Type
ERS Cymru
Date published
02/11/23
Submission for

Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill – Written Evidence

Type
ERS Cymru