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Campaign group calls on Labour leadership candidates to commit to single transferable voting system

30 Jan 2024 4 minute read
The Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

Emily Price

A Senedd reform campaign group has called on Labour leadership candidates Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles to commit to the use of the single transferable vote (STV) system in Senedd elections.

Under the Senedd reform package agreed between the Welsh Labour government and Plaid Cymru, the number of Senedd Members is set to increase from 60 to 96 from 2026.

The electoral system will also be changed to a the Closed List system with votes being cast for political parties rather than individual candidates.

Wales’ 32 constituencies will be paired to create 16 with six MSs elected from each and seats being allocated to parties in proportion to the votes cast.

Calls have been made for the controversial system to be scrapped because it reduces voter choice and creates no direct lines of accountability with electors.


Campaign group Wales For Democracy has called for the Welsh Labour leadership candidates to commit to amending the Senedd Reform Bill to instead introduce STV in future elections.

STV is the electoral system used for Scottish council elections and election to the Irish parliament, the Dail.

To get elected, a candidate needs a set amount of votes, known as the quota. The people counting the votes work out the quota based on the number of vacancies and the number of votes cast.

Each voter has one vote. Once the counting has finished, any candidate who has more number ones than the quota is elected. Extra votes over the quota are then moved to each voter’s second favourite candidate.

If no one reaches the quota, the least popular candidate is removed and votes allocated to them are moved to their second favourite candidate. This process continues until every seat is filled.

Wales For Democracy launched its campaign for STV last year and has spent the last few months communicating with Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrat MSs.

The group has accused the outgoing First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru’s former Senedd leader Adam Price of conspiring to prevent Senedd members from recommending alternative electoral systems.


A Welsh Goverment spokesperson said: “With the new proposals, every vote will count, unlike the current first-past-the-post system. The closed proportional list system was endorsed by two-thirds of the Senedd and the Bill includes a mechanism to review the new system after the 2026 Senedd election.”

Plaid Cymru told Nation.Cymru they have long supported STV but a compromise was needed in order to move forward with Senedd Reform alongside the Welsh Government.

A spokesperson said: “Plaid Cymru has long advocated STV and our preference for an alternative system is well documented, but it was inevitable that there would need to be a compromise in order to be able to move forward with a bold programme of reform for 2026. We will seek to ensure that the review mechanism is used to enable change by 2030.”

Wales For Democracy says they hope that a new Welsh Labour leader along with Plaid Cymru’s new leader Rhun ap Iorwerth will open the door to “real debate” around future Senedd elections.

Ewan Chappell the Campaign Manager said: “Committing to STV in future elections will show the country where the candidates’ priorities lie. Choosing STV would be putting Wales before party and career.”

Welsh Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Miles said: “I am pleased to support the package of Senedd reforms that was overwhelmingly supported at Welsh Labour’s special conference in 2022.

“The reforms will introduce a proportional voting system and ensure that every vote counts. They will also deliver a larger Senedd which will be properly equipped to do its job and better able to reflect the diversity of modern Wales.”

We invited Vaughan Gething to comment but he did not wish to do so.

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Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
5 months ago

It’s not just STV that the candidates need to commit to but also getting rid of the awfully undemocratic closed list system. What is the point of STV without having the option to see who and what they’re offering before casting our votes.

5 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Cant a chant Padi 👏 As predicted all the right wing knuckle dragging trolls are all over this on the BBC HYS. Not that we should pander to them but Labour are giving away a huge own goal on the closed lists. Normally, one should stand back when your opponent makes a mistake. However, Labour are dragging us all down with this. Everyone who cares needs to hammer away to get the closed lists ditched.

Last edited 5 months ago by Annibendod
Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
5 months ago

What is the matter with this Labour party ruling group ? Plaid Cymru, Liberal democrats and Greens all support changes to the Single Transferable System (STV) of the electorate rating each of the candidates in order of choice. The Labour Party previously supported FPTP, then their membership (which the leadership ignores) support a system of Proportional Representation. They then pick one of the worse systems giving choice of candidates to the party hacks. Plaid Cymru, the Liberal democrats and Greens have internal elections one member one vote using the STV system. We all believe in the right of all the… Read more »

5 months ago

Because its not in Labour’s interest.

Why vote
Why vote
5 months ago

What is wrong with these nutters in Cardiff? They knock on our doors promising to make our lives better and safer ‘we’ put our tick in that little box and they then ignore us for 5 years then they hope we will repeat repeat repeat, this has turned into an elected dictatorship with ‘them’ taking liberty’s they let us sign pettition after pettition all of which have a reason to be rejected some before completion. They feather their nests and scramble for power and prestige all at our expense. There must be a better system.

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