Coronavirus ‘the priority’ as Senedd Cymru and Welsh Parliament names become law

The Senedd. Picture by Senedd Cymru.

Tackling coronavirus remains “the priority” as the National Assembly for Wales officially became Senedd Cymru and Welsh Parliament today, the speaker has said.

The new name reflects the institution’s full status as a national parliament, with law-making powers and the ability to vary taxes.

But the name change on a date written into law passed at the beginning of the year, will not distract from the ongoing pandemic, Senedd Llywydd Elin Jones said.

The Senedd is currently meeting virtually over video link as Wales remains under lockdown.

“Responding to the Coronavirus crisis remains the priority of the Senedd and its Members,” Elin Jones said.

“Now, more than ever, our citizens expect a strong national parliament working for Wales: Members asking questions of the Government, scrutinising emergency powers and laws, and representing their communities to the best of their ability in the Senedd.

“The role of our parliament is of far more significance than its name. But it is right that the name reflects the range of powers and responsibilities this parliament holds on behalf of the people of Wales.

“The Senedd today is a very different institution to the one established as the Assembly in 1999. Now with full law-making powers and the ability to vary taxes, the new name reflects the Senedd’s constitutional status as a national parliament.”

The date was chosen as it is exactly one year from the scheduled date of the 2021 Senedd Elections.

The 60 Members elected to represent the people of Wales are now known as Member of the Senedd (MS), and Aelod o’r Senedd (AS) in Welsh.

 

Votes for 16-year-olds

Other changes introduced in the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act mean that from today 16 and 17 years old have been given the right to vote in the Senedd Elections.

Eligible foreign nationals will also able to vote which, together, implements the largest franchise extension in Wales since 1969. Registration for this newly enfranchised age group opens on 1 June 2020.

The main changes introduced in the Senedd and Election (Wales) Act are:

  • The new official name of Senedd Cymru and Welsh Parliament.
  • Lower the voting age to 16 at Senedd Elections
  • Giving the vote to eligible foreign nationals at Senedd Elections
  • Allowing people who would be disqualified from taking up a seat in the Senedd to stand for election, thereby allowing more people to stand for election.
  • Making the Electoral Commission funded by and accountable to the Senedd for Welsh elections.

The Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill became law in January 2020.

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K. KWelsh_SionAnthony MitchellJasej humphrys Recent comment authors
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Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

What criteria make a foreign national an eligible foreign national???? I am guessing the criteria are set out in the act???

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Osama Bin Jones?

Welsh_Sion
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Welsh_Sion

Here you, Jonathan: Section 11 Extension of right to vote in Senedd elections to qualifying foreign citizens (1) After section 12(1A) of the 2006 [GoWA] Act, insert— “(1B) A person falls within the extended franchise for Senedd elections if the person— (a) is a qualifying foreign citizen (within the meaning given by section 203(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (c. 2)), and (b) would, but for any disability removed by this section, be entitled to vote as an elector at a local government election in an electoral area wholly or partly included within the Senedd constituency.” (2)… Read more »

Jase
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Jase

It’ll always be a Mickey mouse parliament in my book, i’d rather scrap it or have real independence but devolution doesn’t work in Britain.

Anthony Mitchell
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Anthony Mitchell

Scrapping would make our Welsh nation a Mickey Mouse nation. Can I lean your opinion more towards independence?

K. K
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K. K

I’d rather have people who had a can do mentality rather than sitting and moaning and expecting Westminster to ‘govern’ Wales. I can’t be doing with abject laziness.