SENEDD reform proposals announced by the Welsh Government today "fall short" of  the change Wales needs, the Welsh Liberal Democrats leader said this afternoon.

Gender equality charity Chwarae Teg, meanwhile, has called for better Senedd representation for ethnic minorities and disabled people.

The Senedd reforms, published today by first minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, include proposals to increase the number of Senedd Members (MSs) from 60 to 96, the introduction of statutory gender quotas, and a change of voting system that would see all Senedd Members elected through Proportional Representation only.

The proposals would make Wales the first country in Britain to abolish First Past The Post, in which the party with the most elected politicians - based on the number of votes gained by the party in a local area - goes on to form the government.

But Jane Dodds, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, believes that the changes do not go far enough.

"The statement falls short of what we need to create a Senedd and a democracy that's fit for Wales," she said.

"The proposed constituency map will mean nothing to communities, and we will still be lumbered with a voting system that fails to ensure that votes match seats.

"Plaid Cymru appeared to have abandoned their commitment to Single Transferrable Votes (STV).

The National Wales: Mark Drakeford and Adam Price announced a cooperation deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru last year. (Picture: Huw Evans Agency)Mark Drakeford and Adam Price announced a cooperation deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru last year. (Picture: Huw Evans Agency)

"In a scramble to make an announcement, Plaid Cymru and Labour have ensured that the debate about whether the Senedd is fit for purpose will start no sooner than these proposals are brought into law."

STV is an alternative voting system in which the public ranks candidates according to preference, rather than casting a single vote.

This system is currently used for elections in countries including Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and Australia.

Plaid Cymru, which backed the reforms announced today, previously endorsed expanding the Senedd to 100 members and introducing the STV system.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are also in favour of STV.

Chwarae Teg, a charity that campaigns for gender equality, welcomed the proposal to introduce mandatory gender quotas.

“Today’s announcement may seem radical to some, but it is much needed, and will lead to our collective vision of a fair, gender equal Wales," a spokesperson said.

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“Gender quotas and an increase in the total number of Senedd members are changes we have long called for so that Wales has the parliament it needs.

“Women’s representation matters. When diverse voices are in the room different issues are discussed and better decisions are made.

"Today’s announcement is a crucial step in ensuring that our Senedd better represents the communities it serves.

“However, there is more work to be done. We still do not have fair representation of people from ethnic minorities, disabled people and other groups whose needs are too often overlooked by those in power.

“The decisions made by Members of the Senedd affect every area of our lives, and it’s crucial that these decisions are informed by diverse voices to ensure they meet everyone’s needs.

“Our Senedd – our democracy – must be truly representative of the communities it serves. Today’s announcement is an important step towards this.”

Last May, Conservative MS Natasha Asghar became the first ever woman of colour to be elected to the Senedd.

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