Gender quotas in Welsh Senedd elections could lead to legal challenges - report

The introduction of gender quotas in Welsh elections "could lead to legal challenges", according to a new report.

Politicians say those challenges could disrupt the outcome of the next Senedd election.

The cross-party Reform Bill Committee says the Welsh government has to take action.

The bill that's being considered would only change the rules when it comes to Senedd (Welsh parliament) elections.

The next vote to choose representatives in Cardiff Bay is due to take place in May 2026.

If approved, the changes would come into effect ahead of that vote.

The aim of the proposals is to increase the number of women who stand for election to the Senedd.

Candidates will have to provide a statement to confirm whether they are a woman or not a woman.

But concerns have been raised that this requirement could be open to abuse.

Chair of the Reform Bill Committee David Rees said he and colleagues had "heard concerns" to that end.

"To alleviate these concerns, we're calling on the government to include this statement within the corrupt practice offence that applies to other false information on nomination forms," he added.

The committee makes a total of 25 recommendations including making sure "beyond doubt" the Senedd has the ability to pass the law.

But Mr Rees said the entire committee agreed the Senedd needed to "better reflect the people it serves".

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A Welsh government spokesperson thanked the committee for its report.

"We are grateful to members of the Reform Bill, Legislation, Justice and Constitution, and Finance Committees for their consideration of the Senedd Cymru (Electoral Candidate Lists) Bill," they said.

"Having received reports from both the Reform Bill and Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committees, we will now consider their recommendations in detail."