On Thursday, May 5, 2016, the 2016 National Assembly for Wales election was conducted to elect members (AMs) of the National Assembly for Wales, currently known as the Senedd (Welsh Parliament; Welsh: Senedd Cymru). The election is using the single transferable vote system, with seats allocated according to the proportion of votes received. The election produced a majority government for the Labour Party, which won 35 of the 60 seats available.
The previous election was held on 3 May 2011. It was followed by a period of negotiations between the main political parties in Wales to try and agree upon a power-sharing deal that would have seen some form of joint administration set up, with the aim of reducing the number of elections. However, these talks failed, leaving the 2011 election as the only opportunity for voters to influence the composition of the National Assembly.
Voters went to the polls on Thursday, May 5, 2016. All candidates standing were elected. The total number of votes cast was 1,013,983; the turnout was 44.4%.
The National Assembly for Wales was established under the Government of Wales Act 1998. Its role is to represent all people living in Wales and to provide them with a voice in the governance of their country. The current assembly consists of 59 members, elected for five year terms, with one third of the seats being contested at each election.
The Senedd (National Assembly of Wales) is composed of 60 Assembly Members (known as AMs) who are elected under the Additional Member System, a type of proportional representation. Elections are usually conducted on the first Thursday of May every four years. However, some seats are filled through by-elections or resignations, so elections can also be called at any other time.
Assembly members serve four-year terms, with half of the members up for election each year. If an assembly member dies in office or loses their seat through disqualification or expulsion, then a by-election must be held to replace them. Voters have the option of voting for more than one candidate in a single by-election, which creates a form of proportional representation known as "list proportionality".
In addition to the Assembly, all five regions of Wales appoint delegates to represent them at meetings of the National Assembly for Wales. These positions are largely symbolic, but they do give voters in those areas an opportunity to express their opinions on how their representatives in Cardiff Bay have performed. In addition, there is a Commissioner for Languages who provides advice to the President of the National Assembly about issues relating to languages in Wales.
All candidates for the Assembly and most candidates for regional offices are required to be citizens of Wales, although people who were born in another country but have lived here for a long time may stand if they meet certain requirements.
The Welsh Parliament is a democratically elected body that represents Wales and its people's interests. The Welsh parliament, known colloquially as the Senedd, sets legislation for Wales, agrees on Welsh taxation, and keeps the Welsh government accountable.
The Senedd (National Assembly of Wales) is composed of 60 Assembly Members (known as AMs) who are elected under the Additional Member System, a type of proportional representation. Elections are usually conducted on the first Thursday of May every four years.
The Senedd is Wales' devolved parliament. The Senedd is distinct from the Welsh Government. The Senedd oversees the work of the Welsh Government, ensuring that plans for spending money or operating services are carried out in the best interests of Wales.
Election to the National Assembly for Wales in 2016
|% and change||34.7% 7.6%||21.1% 3.9%|
|% and change||31.5% 5.4%||18.8% 3.7%|
The Assembly's name was changed to "Senedd Cymru," or the "Welsh Parliament," by the Act. According to its guidelines, the institution will be known as the Senedd in both languages. The new name went into effect on May 6, 2020.
The word "senedd" means assembly in Welsh and is used throughout Europe, including in Scotland where there is also a Scottish Parliament.
In English, the word "parliament" usually has connotations of majesty and power that the Welsh language does not carry. Thus, the new name was needed to reflect the role and function of the body in question. It also removes any suggestion of greatness or glory associated with being part of an empire. The Latin word for assembly, concilium, was the model for many later parliamentary bodies including Britain's House of Commons.
People have protested at assemblies since they were first established in the late 12th century. One reason for protests is to draw attention to an issue that the assembly president doesn't want brought up during their time in office. For example, former South African President Nelson Mandela did not want apartheid mentioned at his inauguration because it would have been considered a breach of etiquette at the time. In addition, people may come to an assembly to express their dissatisfaction with its decisions or to call for changes to be made.
Elections are held on Election Day, which is typically held on a Thursday. First-past-the-post (for UK and local elections); extra member system (for Senedd elections); and supplementary vote are the three electoral systems used in Wales (for Police and Crime Commissioner elections).
The Electoral Reform Society has ranked Wales as one of the most undemocratic countries in Europe when it comes to voting rules.
Wales uses first-past-the-post for general elections, which means that the candidate who gets the most votes wins. In practice this means that the two main parties get almost all the votes and some smaller parties or independent candidates often don't get any votes at all. The election of Carwyn Jones as first minister in 2016 was an example of this system working well: there were more voters than seats in the house, so the candidate with the most support won. However, in some cases a party may win many seats while getting less than half the vote. For example, Labour won 49% of the vote but 85 of the assembly's 100 seats - so it wasn't exactly a fair fight!
In Wales you can vote for individuals rather than parties. But like in Britain as a whole, only certain types of people are allowed to stand - in this case, only those who are 18 years old by the day of the election and reside in Wales.