Welsh Assembly

Welsh Assembly

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Establishment and Powers

  • The Welsh Assembly is a devolved legislature based in Cardiff, created through the Government of Wales Act 1998.
  • The Assembly has the power to make legislation in 20 areas, including health, education, and local government.


  • The Welsh Assembly consists of 60 Assembly Members (AMs).
  • Wales is divided into 40 constituencies and 5 regions. Each constituency elects one AM and region elects four AMs.


  • Elections to the Assembly operate under an Additional Member System (AMS), which is a mix of first-past-the-post and proportional representation.
  • Voters have two votes, one for a constituency AM and one for a regional AM.

Devolved Powers Over Time

  • Originally, the Welsh Assembly had no primary legislative powers. These were conferred by the Government of Wales Act 2006 which allowed the Assembly to pass Assembly Measures on specific matters within its areas of responsibility.
  • The Assembly gained further powers to pass Acts on any matters not reserved to Westminster following a successful referendum in 2011.

Key Legislation

  • The Assembly has produced legislation on a range of issues since obtaining primary legislative powers. Notably, this includes the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 which introduced a legal requirement for public bodies to consider long-term sustainability when making decisions.

Current Context

  • In 2020, the Welsh Assembly was renamed the Welsh Parliament or, in Welsh, Senedd Cymru.
  • Debates continue over the scope and nature of its powers, particularly in light of Brexit, and whether it should be granted more powers or full independence.