The National Assembly for Wales has officially been renamed Welsh Parliament, or Senedd Cymru in Welsh.
The name change, which came into effect on Wednesday, May 6, will see the institution commonly referred to as the Senedd.
The name change, which comes exactly a year before the scheduled date of the 2021 Senedd Elections, is part of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act.
The name change is to reflect the institution’s full status as a national parliament, with law-making powers and tax varying abilities gained since it was established in 1999.
The Senedd is responsible for a number of policy areas in Wales, including health and social care, transport and education.
As a result of the changes, Assembly Members (AMs) will now be known as Members of the Senedd (MS), or Aelod o’r Senedd (AS) in Welsh.
However, the name change is not the only change that the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act, which received Royal Assent in January, will bring.
Other changes introduced in the Act include lowering the voting age in Wales to 16, meaning 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to vote in local and Senedd elections.
Eligible foreign nationals will also be given the right to vote as part of the Act.
Meanwhile, the Act will also make the Electoral Commission funded by and accountable to the Senedd for Welsh elections.
The Senedd’s Llywydd, Elin Jones MS, said dealing with coronavirus “remains the priority of the Senedd and its members”, and added: “The Senedd today is a very different institution to the one established as the Assembly in 1999.
“Now with full law-making powers and the ability to vary taxes, the new name reflects the Senedd’s constitutional status as a national parliament.”
Hefin David, MS for Caerphilly, told Caerphilly Observer: “I acknowledge the name change to reflect the parliamentary responsibilities we have, following legislation passed last year.
“My focus right now is only on helping people through these difficult times. It is time to get on with that work and I will continue to support residents as I always have.”
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Delyth Jewell, Plaid Cymru MS for South Wales East, said: “The Welsh Assembly has had full law-making powers since the successful 2011 referendum, which means it’s already been a parliament in all but name since then – this change of name simply reflects the facts and will give greater clarity in distinguishing between the parliament and the government.
“I expect the name that will be used most commonly to refer to the Welsh Parliament is Senedd, the word used by Owain Glyndwr when a Welsh Parliament was last convened in Wales in 1404.
“The change in name is symbolic and gives clarity in terms of what we do as Members of the Senedd, but there will be no change in terms of the rights of Welsh citizens who will have the ability to contact their Member of the Senedd to raise concerns and ask for help in exactly the same way as before.”
Mark Reckless, Brexit Party MS for South Wales East, said: “It’s appropriate that a legislature with tax raising powers is called a parliament, and it is right that the new name should be bilingual.
“I do not, however, believe that this will raise the profile of the Senedd/Assembly in the eyes of the Welsh people. It will be seen as an inward looking, self-obsessed bubble, prepared to spend its time arguing about changing the sign on the door rather than changing anything for the people of Wales.”
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