In the event that some measures relating to the Coronavirus pandemic need to remain in place, arrangements for the Senedd elections in 2021 may need to be adjusted. The Welsh Government has set up an Elections Planning Group, comprising key stakeholders and Welsh Government officials, to consider the potential impact on the administration of elections and any impact on legislative provision.
However, work on the enabling legislation to allow the Senedd elections to be held still needs to be taken forward and therefore a consultation document seeking views on the draft Senedd Cymru (Representation of the People) (Amendment) Order 2020 has been published on the Welsh Government website today.
Section 13 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, as amended by the Wales Act 2017, transferred particular powers from the Secretary of State for Wales to the Welsh Ministers to make provision for the conduct of Senedd elections. Ahead of each Senedd election the National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 2007, which sets out the manner in which the election and election campaign is conducted and includes provision for legal challenge, is reviewed and amended to take account of any policy or legislative changes since the last election.
This consultation seeks views on the proposed amendments to the National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 2007 which largely arise as a result of changes to the franchise and disqualification arrangements made by the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 as well as some consequential amendments arising from the naming provisions.
The draft Order also contains more significant amendments which reflect changes made elsewhere in the United Kingdom to allow candidates the option of not publishing their home address at an election, along with the issue of payment to returning officers fees for services rendered, as well as other general updates reflecting changes since the last amending Order was made.
I am keen to hear the views of stakeholders and will consider these carefully before the final draft of the Order is prepared. The consultation on these proposals will run until 8 September 2020. Details of how to respond are set out in the consultation document. Following consideration of the responses, the draft Order will be brought forward for the Senedd’s approval. Officials will also be considering the scope of developing a new consolidated Order in readiness for the election in 2026.