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May 2016 | UK Elections Portal

The Welsh Government and National Assembly for Wales

The National Assembly for Wales is the democratically elected body that represents the interests of Wales and its people, makes laws for Wales, and holds the Welsh Government to account.

What is the role of the Assembly?

The Assembly has three key roles: representing Wales and its people; making laws for Wales; and holding the Welsh Government to account.

  • Representing Wales and its people

The Assembly is made up of 60 elected Assembly Members. Forty are chosen to represent individual constituencies, and 20 are chosen to represent the five regions of Wales (North Wales, Mid and West Wales, South Wales West, South Wales Central, and South Wales East). Assembly Members represent their area as a member of a political party or as an independent.

  • Making laws for Wales

Following a referendum on the National Assembly for Wales’s legislative powers held on 03 March 2011, the people of Wales voted in favour of granting the National Assembly for Wales further powers for making laws for Wales.

  • Holding the Welsh Government to account

Effective scrutiny of a government’s work is at the heart of any democratic process, and this work is undertaken by the National Assembly through a number of Committees made up of Assembly Members from all political parties.

Elections and voting

There have been four assemblies since the creation of the Welsh National Assembly. The election in May 2016 will see in the Fifth Assembly.

Every four years 60 Assembly Members (AMs) are up for election in the National Assembly for Wales.

When it comes to the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government, like the UK parliament and UK government they are two organisations. The Welsh Government is then formed by the party – or a coalition of more than one party- which holds the most seats after the people have voted.

The Welsh Government consists of:

  • The First Minister
  • Welsh Ministers
  • The Counsel General
  • Deputy Ministers.

Passing Laws

The National Assembly has the right to pass laws (known as Assembly Acts), but only in areas where those powers have been expressly conferred. These powers are outlined in the following 21 Subjects of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006:

Agriculture, Forestry, Animals, Plants and Rural Development

Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings


Economic Development

Education and Training


Fire and Rescue Services and Fire Safety


Health and Health Services

Highways and Transport


Local Government

National Assembly for Wales

Public Administration

Social Welfare

Sport and Recreation


Devolved Taxes

Town and Country Planning

Water and Flood Defence

Welsh Language

The history of Welsh devolution

Though the Assembly was only formed in 1999, the history of the movement towards political devolution in Wales dates back to 1886.

To find our more about Welsh devolution click here (external link)

Information supplied by the Welsh Government and National Assembly for Wales Websites under Public Open Licence

Information provided under Public Open Licence