Mark Drakeford and Adam Price agree on bigger 96 member Senedd elected entirely by proportional representation
Mark Drakeford and Adam Price have put forward a proposal for a 96 member Senedd with 16 constituencies.
They will be elected through a PR-only system – making Wales the first country in Britain to abolish the First Past the Post system at a parliamentary level.
The First Minister and Plaid Cymru party leader have made the suggestion as a way forward to reform the Senedd before the 2026 election.
The Welsh Conservatives have said that they oppose expanding the Senedd.
In a joint statement, Mark Drakeford and Adam Price said they wanted reform to be implemented in time for the next election in 2026, even if some of the changes are introduced on an interim basis.
- The Senedd should have 96 Members.
- It should be elected using closed proportional lists with integrated statutory gender quotas and mandatory zipping. Seats should be allocated to parties using the D’Hondt formula.
- The 2026 Senedd election should use the final 32 UK Parliament constituencies proposed by the Boundary Commission for Wales once it has concluded its 2023 Parliamentary Review.
- These constituencies should be paired to create 16 Senedd constituencies. Each constituency should elect six Members.
- A full boundary review should be instigated in this Senedd term and its recommendations should take effect from the subsequent Senedd election.
The Senedd currently has 60 members and 40 constituencies, along with five regional lists.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The case for Senedd reform has been made. We now need to get on with the hard work to create a modern Senedd, which reflects the Wales we live in today. A Parliament that truly works for Wales.
“The joint position statement we are publishing today will help support the important work of the cross-party Special Purpose Committee to move Senedd reform forwards.”
Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru, said: “These reforms will lay the foundations for a stronger Welsh democracy and a fairer, more representative Senedd that will look entirely different to the outdated political system at Westminster.
“A stronger, more diverse, more representative Senedd will have a greater capacity to perform its primary purpose of making a positive difference to the lives of the people of Wales”
‘Boost for democracy’
Rhys ab Owen MS from Plaid Cymru said that the agreement was “historic”.
“Not only does it pave the way for a stronger Senedd with a greater ability to make a difference to the lives of people across our country, it will also boost our democracy – making it fairer and more representative,” he said.
“Some of Plaid Cymru’s key manifesto commitments will now be met. We will have a stronger Senedd with 96 members elected through a proportional electoral voting system – gender-balanced in law by the next election in 2026.
“It’s not about more politicians. It’s about super-powering our parliament – making it fit to represent our people and reflective of all the voices and aspirations of Welsh society.
‘Setting the pace’
Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru said that today’s announcement was “historic” as it had “representation and equality at its heart”.
“A strong Senedd is vital to tackle the issues that most affect our communities – critical decisions that impact the daily lives of people in Wales are being made here, not Westminster and these plans will ensure a Senedd that can deliver better outcomes for the people of Wales,” she said.
“Not only will these plans see a larger improved Senedd that reflects the people of Wales – it is yet another rejection of the kind of outdated winner-takes all politics that we’ve come so accustomed to in Westminster – a continued commitment to a proportional electoral system that ensures seats match votes.
“Wales has for a long time now been setting the pace for democratic innovation – today’s announcement once again shows that Wales can lead the way and deliver a parliament fit for the 21st Century.”
Evelyn James. Campaigner at WEN Wales said: “This is a historic moment as it confirms that Wales will be the first country in the UK to legislate to ensure we have gender balance in our seat of power. This is very fitting – we were the first country to achieve gender balance in our legislature in 2003 and we should now be on course to ensure we have gender balance after the elections in 2026.
“We are delighted that our evidence to the special purpose committee, our briefings and our legal opinions have helped ensure Senedd reform includes these positive measures so that gender parity is baked in, whatever the party in power.”
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