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Assembly Elections 2016

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Cathy Owens

on 29 October 2015

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Transcript of Assembly Elections 2016

Assembly Elections 2016
What's going to happen in May 2016?
A dozen new Assembly Members
New party representation
A new government?
New Cabinet Members
Change in Assembly Seats Won since 1999
You need 31 from 60 seats to run a one-party government. With fewer than 30 seats, you need to work with the opposition to pass your budget and introduce new laws.

Day to day policy and spending decisions can be decided by the Cabinet once the overall shape of the budget is agreed.

The pattern over time shows Labour maintaining a substantial lead, but governing in a minority or in coalition with Plaid Cymru or the Liberal Democrats.

For the last 5 years, Welsh Labour have governed in minority, agreeing budget deals with Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats, and passing legislation supported by at least one other party.

How Many Seats Do You Need?
The pattern shows Welsh Labour as the largest party at the last 4 elections, winning between 26 and 30 seats, Over time, the Conservatives have grown from 9 to 14 seats, whilst Plaid Cymru have fallen from a high of 17 seats to 11. The Liberal Democrats currently have 5 seats.
Current Seats
There are 60 seats, 40 first past the post constituencies, and 20 top-up regional list seats to provide an element of proportionality.

There is a very strong geographic pattern, which is not likely to change, that limits parties to winning constituencies in certain parts of Wales.

Regional top-up seats take into account the number of seats won by a party in each region, and generally rewards parties who come second and third in seats across each region.
So What Happens in May 2016?
The latest poll, published in 2015 (You Gov/Wales Governance Centre), predicts the following seats:

Labour 28
Conservatives 12
Plaid Cymru 10
Liberal Democrats 2

This poll came just after the General Election in May. What change will we see ahead of the Assembly Election?
How will the Parties fare?
UKIP will do well in May. The electoral system works for them in a way Westminster's does not, so we can expect them to win between 3 and 8 list seats.
We can't yet predict the impact of new UK Labour leadership on the party's fortunes in Wales, but after being in power for 17 years, it is hard to see anything other than a reduction in seats. Predictions range from 24 to 28.
In most of the seats that Labour need to work hard to hold, the contest is against the Conservatives, and it is also these seats where the UKIP vote could make the difference. In a low turnout, Labour could lose a number of seats in the North East and in the South to the Conservatives.
Plaid Cymru has not broken through in the same way as the SNP has in Scotland, and though they may hope to win Llanelli, they are not expected to make great strides in May.
The Liberal Democrats are bracing themselves for a hard fight, with UKIP taking their regional list seats.
The Next Welsh Government
Given the current polls, it seems that a minority Labour Government is likely. A coalition, or confidence and supply agreement with Plaid Cymru is possible, but will depend on the Leaders and what they can negotiate, and what their members will expect
But look out for leadership changes over the next few years. Both Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood may come under pressure if they have a bad result, and a new Plaid Cymru leader could change how the opposition parties work together.
Full transcript