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Our plans to create a more effective and representative Senedd.

First published:
18 September 2023
Last updated:


We plan to strengthen democracy by creating a more effective and representative Welsh Parliament. To help achieve this, 2 Bills have been introduced to the Senedd:

  • The Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill
  • The Senedd Cymru (Electoral Candidate Lists) Bill 

The Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill

The Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill, which is now awaiting Royal Assent, sets out our plans to create a Welsh Parliament that can better serve the people in Wales.

It reflects how the role and responsibilities of the Senedd have changed since the National Assembly for Wales first opened its doors in 1999. 

The Senedd can now make laws and set Welsh taxes – these are decisions which affect the lives of every single person in Wales.

But while its responsibilities have grown, membership of the Senedd has not.

It remains far smaller than the Scottish Parliament, which has 129 members, and the Northern Ireland Assembly with 90 members.

Proposed changes

On 8 May 2024, Members of the Senedd voted in favour of:

  • Increasing the size of the Senedd to 96 Members.
  • Changing the electoral system to one fully based on the principle of proportional representation, with names of all candidates on the ballot paper. From the 2026 Senedd election, the D’Hondt formula will be used (this formula has been used to determine the Senedd’s regional list Members (Senedd reform: a glossary).
  • Making 16 new Senedd constituencies, which will be created by pairing the 32 new UK Parliamentary constituencies for the 2026 Senedd election.
  • Six Members will be elected, from closed lists, in each of the 16 constituencies.
  • Increasing the limit on the number of Welsh Ministers who can be appointed from 12 to 17 (plus the First Minister and the Counsel General). Welsh Ministers will have the ability to further increase the number to 18 or 19, but only with the Senedd’s approval.
  • Giving Members of the Senedd the flexibility to elect a second Deputy Presiding Officer.
  • Making it law that all candidates for Senedd elections and Members of the Senedd are resident in Wales.
  • Holding Senedd elections every 4 years from 2026 onwards.

The Bill is based on the recommendations of the Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform (Reforming our Senedd: A stronger voice for the people of Wales). These recommendations have been supported by a majority of Senedd Members in June 2022.

The Senedd Cymru (Electoral Candidate Lists) Bill

The Senedd Cymru (Electoral Candidate Lists) Bill was introduced on 11 March 2024. 

It aims to make our Senedd more effective by being more representative of the gender make-up of the people of Wales.

In 2003, Wales became the first country in the world to elect women to 50% of its parliament's seats. Over the 2 decades since the landmark 2003 election that proportion has fallen.

Women are now an under-represented majority in Wales. They make up 51% of the population, but just 43% of MSs and 31% of candidates in the last Senedd election. 

Proposed changes

The Senedd Cymru (Electoral Candidate Lists) Bill would place new responsibilities on political parties putting forward more than one candidate to ensure:

  • Women make up at least half of their election candidates for each constituency.
  • A woman is placed at the top of at least half of their constituency candidate lists.
  • Each candidate on a list who is not a woman is followed by a woman.

Senedd reform is a Welsh Government Programme for Government commitment. The work is being carried out in collaboration with Plaid Cymru as part of the Co-operation Agreement.


Next steps

  • The 2 Bills are now undergoing separate processes of scrutiny by Members of the Senedd.
  • Following scrutiny, Members of the Senedd will vote to decide whether to support the 2 Bills.
  • Each Bill will need to be supported by a super-majority of Members of the Senedd (40 of the Senedd’s 60 Members) to pass.
  • If each Bill is passed, it is anticipated that the changes will take effect from the 2026 Senedd elections.

Further information