Yesterday the Welsh Assembly announced their panel examine case for more AMs. Professor Laura McAllister has been named as the chair of the panel which is going to examine the need for having more assembly members.
The assembly chamber in the Senedd was designed to fit 100 AMs but currently only holds sixty, forty constituency and twenty regional Assembly Members. Wales Green Party; in line with recommendations from the Richard Commission and the Electoral Reform Society; support an expansion of the National Assembly for Wales to at least 80 members.
The panel have been put together after the new Wales Bill has been voted through, however the Wales Green Party, supported by Co-Leader of the England and Wales Green Party Caroline Lucas, have rejected the Wales Bill as insufficient as it does not bring the increased power that was promised which was voted for by the people of Wales.
The panel will also be looking at reforming the voting system. In November, a report by the Wales Governance Centre and Electoral Reform Society (ERS) said there would need to be changes to the electoral system if the number of AMs was to be increased. We fully support electoral reform which increases representation in the Senedd. Wales Green Party call for at least 50% of all Assembly Members to be elected on the basis of proportional representation drawn from the regional lists.
Wales Young Greens are encouraged to see that the panel will be looking into potentially reducing the voting age. A 16 year old can leave school, have a sexual relationship, get married, leave home, join the armed forces, get a job, and pay tax. They believe that it’s disgraceful that young people who can contribute so much to society have no say on the issues that affect them or on the people elected to represent them.
16 year olds are far more capable at being involved in our democratic processes than many people care to know. To think differently is to not really understand young people at all and not give them the credit they are due.
Andrew Creak and Ramona Sharples Co-chairs of Wales Young Greens have jointly Said “It is about time that votes at 16 are seriously considered. Sixteen year olds are affected by politics as much as an 18 year old, and yet have no say in the matter. Sixteen year olds should be allowed the vote in all elections and referendums. Looking at the EU referendum it’s safe to say that sixteen year olds will be more affected far more by the Brexit vote than the older generations who were entitled to vote. That simply isn’t fair or democratic. The independence referendum in Scotland showed just how keen sixteen year olds are to be engaged in the political decisions that affect them.”