Assembly Commission seeks approval to introduce new Welsh Parliament and Elections Bill
The Assembly Commission has agreed to table a motion today (2 October) for debate on 10 October asking the National Assembly for Wales to approve its decision to introduce the Welsh Parliament and Elections (Wales) Bill.
Using new powers devolved under the Wales Act 2017, the Commission proposes to introduce a Bill to change the name of the legislature to Senedd Cymru/ Welsh Parliament, lower the voting age for Assembly elections to 16, amend the law relating to disqualification from being an Assembly Member, and make other changes to the Assembly’s electoral and internal arrangements. The Commission intends that these changes will be implemented by 2021.
In seeking a mandate to introduce the Bill, the Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales, Elin Jones AM, said:
“The Commission is grateful to all who continue to engage with us on these matters. We believe that lowering the voting age to 16 will give young people a stronger voice in the future of our nation, paving the way to improving the participation of our next generation in our democracy and our parliament as it enters its third decade of serving the people of Wales.“
The Commission’s decision to introduce this legislation follows a Written Statement from the Llywydd in July 2018. The Llywydd announced a package of reforms to make the National Assembly a more effective, accessible and diverse legislature. Many of these reforms are based on recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform in its report: A Parliament that works for Wales and they were subject to consultation earlier this year.
Once introduced, an Assembly committee will consider the proposals and suggested amendments in detail before a final vote is put to all 60 members. The Bill requires at least 40 members to vote in its favour to become law.
In addition to the reforms proposed in this Bill, Assembly Members and political parties are still considering other issues including; the future size of the Assembly, how Members should be elected, and how diversity could be increased. If agreed, these elements will form the second phase of the reform programme later in the Assembly term.