The Fifth Assembly: first Plenary meeting

Published 10/05/2016   |   Last Updated 27/05/2021   |   Reading Time minutes

Article by Alys Thomas, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

The election of the Fifth National Assembly for Wales took place on 5 May 2016. The first meeting will take place in the Senedd Chamber on Wednesday 11 May. As mentioned in a recent blog the urgent first piece of business for the new Assembly is the election of a Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officer. Standing Orders state that “The election of a Presiding Officer takes precedence over all other business”. Electing the Presiding Officer The meeting will be initially chaired by the outgoing Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler, who will invite nominations. A nomination, in the first instance, needs to be seconded by a Member from a different political group from the one to which the nominating Member belongs. If it appears that no Member is likely to be nominated and seconded by members of different political groups, the chair adjourns proceedings and may, on their resumption, accept nominations which are seconded by members of the same political group as the nominating Member. If there is only one nomination, the chair proposes that the Member nominated be elected as Presiding Officer (or Deputy). If that is opposed, or if there are two or more nominations, the chair must make arrangements for the election to take place by secret ballot. If more than two Members have been nominated and no Member receives more than half of the votes cast in a ballot, the candidate who has received the smallest number of votes is excluded and further secret ballots held until one candidate obtains more than half of the votes cast. The Presiding Officer will then take the chair. The Assembly must not elect a Presiding Officer and a Deputy who belong to:

  • the same political group;
  • different political groups both of which are government;
  • or different political groups both in opposition.

This can be disapplied by a resolution of the Assembly if the status of party groups changes. The resolution must be approved by a two-thirds majority of Members. The agenda can be seen here.