Historic Act enables voting for 16 and 17 year olds – renames Assembly to “Welsh Parliament”
A historic Bill which will introduce a new name for the National Assembly and extend voting rights to 16 and 17 year olds in the Welsh General Election has become an Act of the Assembly and now law.
The Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill received Royal Assent and was officially transferred to the National Assembly’s Chief Executive and Clerk, Manon Antoniazzi by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford.
The handing over of the Bill to the Assembly Clerk in the Senedd Siambr marked a historic step which saw the Bill become an Act.
Llywydd of the Assembly, Elin Jones AM, announced the status of the new Senedd and Election (Wales) Act at the start of the Plenary meeting yesterday.
The contents of the Act – which introduces a new name Senedd Cymru / Welsh Parliament and extends the voting franchise to foreign nationals and 16 and 17 year olds – will not come into force until early May 2020. This is the largest franchise extension in Wales since 1969, when the Representation of the People Act in 1969 reduced the voting age from 21 to 18.
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.
“In May 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.”
The Llywydd added, “It is a moment of great pride to watch our Assembly evolve in order to continue to be at its best to serve the people of Wales.”
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