Hefyd ar gael yn: Cymraeg

Victory as Ceredigion joins Powys and Gwynedd with STV consultation

Matthew Mathias, ERS Cymru Campaigns and Projects Officer

Posted on the 25th March 2024

There was fantastic news for voters coming out of Ceredigion last week, as their County Council voted YES to a public consultation on scrapping First Past the Post for their elections and bringing in the fair and proportional Single Transferable Vote (STV).

Ceredigion follows Powys and Gwynedd, who voted for consultations in December. The Single Transferable Vote is a tried and tested system that has been used in Scotland and Northern Ireland for over a decade.

Why can’t voters in Wales be properly represented?

In the last set of Welsh local elections, we saw over a third of councils get ‘unearned majorities’ where a party holds over 50% of the seats on less than 50% of the vote.

Take for instance Cardiff, where Labour hold 70% of the seats with just 47% of the vote. Or Ynys Môn, where Plaid Cymru have 60% of the seats despite winning 41% of the vote. This goes the other way too, across Wales parties lose as much as they gain from the distorting effects of First Past the Post. Plaid, standing as Common Ground with the Greens in Cardiff, ended with just 2 of the council’s 79 seats despite winning 17% of the vote across the city. It really is an electoral toss up for who gets represented – and who gets to set the agenda locally.

A democratic dawn for Welsh councils

I’ve been driving up and down the country, making connections and talking to councillors. We’ve presented to council chambers and met with group leaders. What they tell me, is that the effort our supporters have made to contact them has made a real difference.

A third of all councillors in Wales have been emailed by someone in their ward asking them to support the Single Transferable Vote. Our supporters in Ceredigion have played a vital role, contacting their councillors in the run up to the vital vote. If you live in Wales you can use our tool to contact your councillors.

What’s next in the campaign? 

While we wait for what’s next with Ceredigion following last week’s vote, for those in Gwynedd and Powys, the important consultation begins in May and as soon as we know all the information you will be the first to know. We will need your support and help.

Let’s remember though, that the consultation is only the first step, to finally rid themselves of First Past the Post in time for the next election, those councils will need two-thirds of their members to agree to a resolution before the 15th of November 2024.

By demanding a 2/3rds vote, these rules stack the deck against change. But Wales has a proud history of struggling for the vote in the first place, and has always pushed to be at the forefront of democratic change. Why should we settle for less at a local level?

It’s time our councils caught up and gave us a local democracy worthy of a modern, forward-looking nation.

Contact your councillors, and ask them to support STV

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