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Assembly vote paves way for Welsh Parliament

15 October 2018

Professor Laura McAllister, of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, has welcomed last week’s vote to allow the introduction of new legislation to reform the National Assembly for Wales.

The Professor of Public Policy chaired an Expert Panel on Electoral Reform which concluded in a comprehensive report that significant reform was needed.

The Llywydd has indicated that many of the reforms now being proposed by the Assembly Commission for new legislation are based on the work of Professor McAllister’s Expert Panel.

The Welsh Parliament and Elections (Wales) Bill will widen the electoral franchise to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in future devolved elections, will provide for changing the name of the National Assembly to ‘Senedd Cymru/the Welsh Parliament’ in May 2020, and will also make other administrative changes.

A second phase of reform looking at the size of the Assembly and its electoral system will be initiated later in the current term.

Professor Laura McAllister commented:

“I warmly welcome the new legislation, which paves the way for the Assembly to be transformed into a Welsh Parliament that is fit for purpose.

“Extending the voting franchise to include 16 and 17 year olds and enabling the institution’s name to be changed will materially change the way the next devolved elections are perceived by the Welsh electorate.  The work of our Expert Panel on Assembly Reform found that a reduction in the minimum voting age to 16 would be a powerful way to raise political awareness and participation among young people.

“The Llywydd has confirmed that many of these reforms are based on the work of the Expert Panel which I chaired. But another phase of reform including changes to the size of the Welsh Parliament, gender balance, and the electoral system is also on the table, and I look forward to seeing discussions on that’s second phase move forward later during the current Assembly term.”

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