First Minister of Wales
The First Minister of Wales (Welsh: Prif Weinidog Cymru) is the Leader of the Welsh Government. The First Minister chairs the Welsh Cabinet and is primarily responsible for the formulation, development and presentation of Welsh Government policy. Additional functions of the First Minister include promoting and representing Wales in an official capacity, at home and abroad, and responsibility for constitutional affairs, as they relate to devolution and the Welsh Government.
|First Minister of Wales
Prif Weinidog Cymru
The Right Honourable
(UK and Commonwealth)
|Status||Head of Government|
|Reports to||the Senedd|
|Term length||Five years|
|Formation||12 May 1999|
|First holder||Alun Michael AM|
|Salary||£147,983 per annum|
Politics of Wales
Wales portal |
The First Minister is a Member of the Senedd, and is nominated by the Senedd (Welsh Parliament; Welsh: Senedd Cymru)—before being officially appointed by the Monarch. Members of the Welsh Cabinet and junior ministers of the Welsh Government, as well as law officers, are appointed by the First Minister. As head of the Welsh Government, the First Minister is directly accountable to the Senedd for their actions and the actions of the Welsh Government.
The main office of the First Minister is in Tŷ Hywel which is adjacent to the Senedd building in Cardiff Bay. An additional office is also kept at the Crown Buildings, Cathays Park, Cardiff which is the headquarters of the Welsh Government.
Where initially established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, Section 53(1), the post was known as Assembly First Secretary (in Welsh Prif Ysgrifennydd y Cynulliad), as Wales was given a less powerful assembly and executive than either Northern Ireland or Scotland. The choice of title was also attributed to the fact that the Welsh term for First Minister, Prif Weinidog, may also be translated as Prime Minister, so a different title was chosen to avoid confusion with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The change of title occurred after the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government with Labour in the Welsh Assembly in October 2000. The Government of Wales Act 2006 allowed for the post to be officially known as the First Minister and also made the First Minister Keeper of the Welsh Seal.
Nomination and appointment
Candidates for the position of First Minister are nominated by the members of the Senedd. The members elect the nominee for the First Minister by majority vote. If no one is elected by a majority of votes cast with the first set of nominations, the process continues until a majority decide to cast their vote for one candidate. This process does not require an absolute majority of the Senedd (currently 31 out of 60 members)
Under the arrangements in the Government of Wales Act 1998, executive functions are conferred on the Senedd and then separately delegated to the First Minister and to other Cabinet Ministers and staff as appropriate.
Until the Government of Wales Act 2006, these were delegated powers of the UK government. Since that Act came into force in May 2007, however, the First Minister is appointed by the monarch and represents the Crown in Wales. Whilst this has little practical difference, it was a huge symbolic shift as for the first time the head of government in Wales is appointed by the Crown on the advice of the elected representatives of the Welsh people.
The First Minister appoints the Welsh Ministers, Deputy Welsh Ministers and the Counsel General for Wales (collectively known as the Welsh Government), with the approval of Her Majesty.
Following separation between the legislative and the executive on the enactment of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (upon appointment of the First Minister, 25 May 2007), the Welsh Ministers exercise functions in their own right. Any further transfers of executive functions from the UK Government will be made directly to the Welsh Ministers (with their consent) by an Order in Council approved by Parliament.
The First Minister is accountable and responsible for:
- Exercise of functions by the Cabinet of the Welsh Government.
- Policy development and coordination of policy.
- The relationships with the rest of the United Kingdom, Europe and Wales Abroad.
- Staffing/Civil Service
List of First Secretaries and First Ministers
|Term of office||Political party||Elected||Government||Deputy|
AM for Mid and West Wales
As First Secretary
AM for Cardiff West
Office renamed First Minister on 16 October 2000
|9 years, 304 days||Labour||—||Interim Morgan
Lab – LD
|Mike German (LD)|
2000–01 and 2002-03
Lab – Plaid
|Ieuan Wyn Jones|
AM for Bridgend
|9 years, 2 days||Labour||—||1st Jones|
Lab – Plaid
Lab – LD - Ind
MS for Cardiff West
|Incumbent||2 years, 171 days*||Labour||—||Drakeford
Lab – LD - Ind
* Incumbent's duration of term of office last updated: 1 June 2021.
On 12 May 2021, Mark Drakeford was the only person nominated for the position (by Rebecca Evans), and was a subsequently recommended by the Presiding Officer to be appointed as First Minister.
|Date:||12 December 2018|
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|Date:||11 May 2016|
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- List of current heads of government in the United Kingdom and dependencies
- Deputy First Minister for Wales
- Welsh Government
- "Determination on Members' Pay and Allowances: 2020-2021" (PDF). Senedd Cymru. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
- "Appointing a new First Minister". National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- "Agenda for Plenary on Wednesday, 12 May 2021, 15.00". business.senedd.wales. 12 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
- "Agenda for Plenary on Wednesday, 12 December 2018, 13.30". senedd.assembly.wales. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- "Agenda for Plenary on Wednesday, 18 May 2016, 13.30". senedd.assembly.wales. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- "Agenda for Plenary on Wednesday, 11 May 2016, 13.30". senedd.assembly.wales. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- "Agenda for Plenary - Fourth Assembly on Wednesday, 11 May 2011, 15.00". business.senedd.wales. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
- "Meeting of Plenary - Third Assembly on Wednesday, 9 December 2009". business.senedd.wales. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
- "Meeting of Plenary - Third Assembly on Friday, 25 May 2007". business.senedd.wales. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
- "Meeting of Plenary - Second Assembly on Wednesday, 7 May 2003". business.senedd.wales. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
- "Meeting of Plenary - First Assembly on Wednesday, 9 February 2000". business.senedd.wales. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
- "Meeting of Plenary - First Assembly on Wednesday, 12 May 1999". business.senedd.wales. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
- Dates are from World Statesmen and various BBC News Online articles from 1999 to 2003.