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Senedd Cymru
Welsh Parliament
Sixth Senedd
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Founded 12 May 1999
Preceded by Welsh Office (1965–1999)
Leadership
Llywydd (presiding officer)
Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru
Since 11 May 2016
Trefnydd (leader)
Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Labour
Since 13 May 2021
Mark Drakeford, Welsh Labour
Since 13 December 2018
Chief Executive and Clerk
Manon Antoniazzi
Since April 2017
Leader of the Opposition
Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Conservatives
Since 24 January 2021
Structure
Seats 60
Senedd 2021.svg
Political groups
Government (30)
     Welsh Labour (30)

In Co-operation with

     Plaid Cymru (13)

Official Opposition (16)

     Welsh Conservatives (16)

Other opposition (1)

     Welsh Liberal Democrats (1)
Elections
Additional member system
Last election
6 May 2021
Next election
due on 7 May 2026
Meeting place
Y Siambr 2.jpg
Senedd, Cardiff, Wales

The Senedd ( transl. parliament/senate), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English and Senedd Cymru in Welsh, is the devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes laws for Wales, agrees certain taxes and scrutinises the Welsh Government. It is a bilingual institution, with both Welsh and English being the official languages of its business. From its creation in May 1999 until May 2020, the Senedd was known as the National Assembly for Wales (Welsh: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru).

The Senedd comprises 60 members who are known as Members of the Senedd (Welsh: Aelodau o'r Senedd), abbreviated as "MS" (Welsh: AS). Since 2011, members are elected for a five-year term of office under an additional member system, in which 40 MSs represent smaller geographical divisions known as "constituencies" and are elected by first-past-the-post voting, and 20 MSs represent five "electoral regions" using the D'Hondt method of proportional representation. Typically, the largest party in the Senedd forms the Welsh Government.

A National Assembly for Wales was created by the Government of Wales Act 1998, following the result of the 1997 referendum. The Assembly initially had no powers to make primary legislation. Limited law-making powers were gained through the Government of Wales Act 2006. Its primary law-making powers were enhanced following a Yes vote in the referendum on 3 March 2011, meaning that the UK Parliament or the Secretary of State for Wales were no longer consulted when passing acts of the National Assembly for Wales related to the 20 devolved areas. These powers were further extended by the Wales Act 2014 and Wales Act 2017, with the latter moving the Assembly to a reserved powers model of devolution like that of the Scottish Parliament. In May 2020, the Assembly was renamed to "Senedd Cymru" or "the Welsh Parliament" when section 2 of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 came into force. Matters devolved to the Senedd include health, education, economic development, transport, the environment, agriculture, local government and some taxes.

History

After 2 selection processes were held, it was decided a new debating chamber for Wales was to built on a new site, Site 1E, at Capital Waterside in Cardiff Bay.

Design

Richard Rogers, an architect who had won the Pritzker Prize, won the international competition to design the building. It was designed to be sustainable, with renewable technologies, and to be energy efficient. The building was awarded an "Excellent" certification by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, the highest ever certification to be awarded in Wales, and was nominated for the 2006 Stirling Prize. The Senedd is now a symbol of Cardiff, and Wales.

Building the Senedd

The Senedd was constructed in two phases, the first in 2001 and the second starting in August 2003, until it was handed over to the National Assembly in February 2006.

Between the phases, the National Assembly changed contractors and the management structure of the project, but kept Rogers as architect.

Once finished, the building cost almost 6 times more than expected, and was finished 4 years and 10 months late (compared to estimates in 1997).

The cost grew because of the extra security that had to be added after the September 11 attacks, and because the National Assembly did not have an independent estimate of the project's cost until December 2000, three years after the original estimate. The costs of the second phase grew by less than 6% over budget, and was 6 months late, because of ICT problems.

It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 1 March 2006 and it cost £69.6 million, which included £49.7 million in construction costs. The Senedd is part of the land owned by the National Assembly that includes Tŷ Hywel and the Pierhead Building.

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