‘Historic moment’ as Assembly name change and votes at 16 Bill becomes Act
A Bill to change the name of the Assembly to Senedd Cymru / Welsh Parliament and give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote will become an Act today.
After sealing the Bill, to mark it receiving Royal Assent, the First Minister Mark Drakeford will present it to the National Assembly’s Chief Executive and Clerk Manon Antoniazzi.
The handing over of the Bill in the Siambr, which will take place in the Siambr at 1.15pm today, will see the Bill become an Act which will come in the force in May this year.
Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales says; “I am honoured to mark this significant chapter in the story of our Assembly with the passing of the Senedd and Elections Wales (Bill) into an Act of the Assembly.
“We will have a new name, which will reflect our status as a mature legislature, and we will see the biggest extension to the franchise since 1969 – notably giving 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in the Welsh General Election for the first time in 2021. It is a moment of great pride to watch our Assembly grow and evolve in order to continue to be at its best to serve the people of Wales.”
The Senedd and Elections Bill is the first part of the Assembly’s Reform programme and is based on the recommendations made in the independent report of the Assembly’s Expert Reform Panel.
The passing of the Senedd Bill will also extend the vote in the Assembly elections to all foreign nationals resident in Wales.
Commenting on the passing of the Bill, Electoral Reform Society Cymru Director, Jess Blair said that it was a “historic moment for democracy in Wales”.
“Extending the vote to 16 and 17-year olds will give young people across Wales a voice in critical decisions about who runs this country, and make the decisions that affect their everyday lives,” she said.
“Tonight, the Senedd has made a substantial step forward in modernising our electoral rules – showing how Wales can do things differently 20 years after devolution.
“It is now imperative that over the next 18 months our institutions work together to deliver an effective campaign informing young people of their new right to vote and ensuring they are on the electoral roll.
“Meanwhile, in Wales we mustn’t get complacent about the next stages of Assembly reform.
“Increasing the size of the assembly is the next step in delivering a Senedd fit for the 21st century and parties much now take this forward in manifestos for the next election.”