Illustrations by Megan Le Brocq
The Welsh Senedd election resulted in a Labour win, with them matching their best ever election results and securing 30 of the 60 seats. They performed better than the 2016 elections, where they won only 29 seats. This victory comes despite early polls predicting the outcome to be Labours worst-ever result. Some of the most shocking Labour victories are in Rhondda, where they gained the seat off the ex-Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood. Labour also secured Wrexham, despite the town surprisingly being won by the Tories in 2019’s general election. At 30 seats, Labour would need the support of one more MS for the majority, which may come in the form of Lib Dems one seat: Jane Dodds. However, previous First Ministers who won 30 seats, Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones, did manage to govern without the coalition powers.
The second biggest part in the Senedd are the Conservatives, who won a total of 16 seats. The Tories gained five seats. Two of their main constituency gains were their gaining of the Vale of Clwyd from Labour, and Brecon and Radnorshire from the Liberal Democrats. This election comes after the Welsh Conservatives saw their best general election result in 2019, securing 36% of the vote, where they gained seats in Labour strongholds such as Wrexham.
Plaid Cymru are the third largest party, gaining 13 of the seats. However, despite losing one seat in the Rhondda constituency, they gained two seats in the South Wales Central Region, making their overall gain just one seat since 2016. Despite recent polls in Wales suggesting that around 40% of the population would vote for independence, the party of this independence, Plaid Cymru, did not make the significant gains they would have hoped for.
Liberal Democrats won just the single seat, with Jane Dodds – their leader – winning the Mid and West Wales region. Namely, other results were that UKIP lost all their seven seats previously gained during the 2016 election. Along with this, Abolish did not gain any seats, despite being polled to have won two in the very establishment they wanted to Abolish.
Turnout for the election sat at 47%, 2% higher than the 2016 Senedd Election, and with 16-year-olds newly allowed to vote. Labour leader, Mark Drakeford, stated upon victory: “People told me they were glad to have lived in Wales through the Pandemic”. It seems Drakeford’s handling of the pandemic, and the increased powers coming from Cardiff may have been the reason for such a decisive victory from Labour.