“The next step in Wales’ democratic journey”: ERS Cymru respond to Senedd reform bill

Posted on the 12th February 2019

  • Statement from Electoral Reform Society Cymru, for immediate release
  • Jess Blair is available for comment/interview. Contact 07773555390 or [email protected]

Commenting on the tabling of the National Assembly for Wales’ ‘Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill’ Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru, said:

“This Bill is the next step in Wales’ democratic journey, helping to ensure we have a Welsh Parliament that can truly represent the breadth of Wales.

“Extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds for Welsh parliamentary elections is a sensible recognition of the fact that Wales’ young people are active, informed and interested in politics – and they deserve to be heard by our political institutions. As we’ve seen in Scotland, extending the franchise has resulted in a higher turnout among 16 and 17 year olds than their 18 to 24 year old counterparts, and helped spur a revival in political engagement across the board.

“The extension of the voting age adds impetus to plans to improve political education in Wales – reaching young people at an age where they will first be voting. Improving the quality of democratic debate and building a fairer franchise go hand in hand and it is crucial that Ministers recognise this.

“While this legislation is a vital first step in opening up our politics, it is by no means the end of the line. With Assembly Members representing more voters than ever, it is time for the Senedd to be properly resourced.

“With Wales gaining more powers following Brexit and possible further devolution, the current provision of just 60 Members does the country a disservice.

“We need a Welsh Parliament with enough Parliamentarians to adequately represent the public. It’s time to unleash Wales’ full potential.

“We look forward to following the plans to further democratise Welsh politics and empower voters.”

ENDS

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