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Government of Wales Act 2006

Detailed Comments on Part 1

The Assembly
Section 1: The Assembly

36.This section provides for establishment of the legislative body called the National Assembly for Wales (“the Assembly”) and the Assembly Members who comprise its membership. The corporate body which was set up under the Government of Wales Act 1998 with legislative and executive powers, and which was also called the “National Assembly for Wales”, will cease to exist.

37.Membership of the Assembly is to consist of Assembly Members of two descriptions: Assembly constituency members and Assembly regional members. Each Assembly constituency elects one Assembly constituency member. Each Assembly region, of which there are five, elects four regional members.

38.Assembly Members will be elected in general elections (in which all Assembly seats are up for election), in by-elections (for Assembly constituency members only), or by application of the rules for filling vacant regional seats. The rules for all these processes are to be found in this Act , in subordinate legislation made under it and in other legislation relating to elections

39.When a seat in the Assembly becomes vacant (for example, because of the death or resignation of an Assembly constituency or regional member), the fact that there is a vacancy does not invalidate anything done by the Assembly, or by its committees or sub-committees.

Section 2: Assembly constituencies and electoral regions

40.This section and Schedule 1 to the Act provide for the Assembly constituencies (for which Assembly constituency members are returned), and the Assembly electoral regions (for which Assembly regional members are returned).

41.Assembly constituencies have the same boundaries as the parliamentary constituencies for which Members of the UK Parliament are returned. Therefore, at the passing of this Act , there are 40 Assembly constituencies. If the parliamentary constituencies change (by Her Majesty making an Order in Council under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, following a report of the Electoral Commission), the Assembly constituencies will also change accordingly.

42.At the outset, the 5 electoral regions in Wales are: North Wales, Mid and West Wales, South Wales West, South Wales Central and South Wales East. The boundaries of these electoral regions are laid down by the Parliamentary Constituencies and Assembly Electoral Regions (Wales) Order 2006, which was made under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986.

43.The boundaries of the electoral regions and the numbers of Assembly regional seats allocated to each region will be able to be altered by an Order in Council made by Her Majesty under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, following a report of the Electoral Commission into parliamentary constituencies. Schedule 1 to the Act makes detailed provision in relation to the procedures for proposals for such alterations.

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