Next first minister of Wales to be announced today

The result of the race to become the next first minister of Wales will be revealed today.

Jeremy Miles, the current minister for education and Welsh language, and Vaughan Gething, the minister for the economy, have been competing to see who will lead Welsh Labour and the country.

Which of the two has succeeded will be announced this morning, after voting closed at midday on Thursday.

The pair are bidding to replace Mark Drakeford, who has been first minister since 2018 and announced his intention to resign late last year.

The election of either candidate would be a historic milestone for Wales.

Mr Gething would be the country’s first Black first minister and Mr Miles the first to be openly gay.

Whoever succeeds will be the country’s fifth leader since the Senedd was established in 1999.

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Only Labour members or those who are part of an affiliated organisation, such as a trade union, were able to participate in the vote – meaning about 100,000 people were able to take part.

Mr Gething had the backing of most of the large unions and Lord Kinnock, who led the UK party from 1983 to 1992.

Mr Miles saw support from the majority of the Labour members of the Senedd.

Mr Drakeford is not expected to stand down immediately, with his final first minister’s questions on Tuesday next week.

File photo dated 09/12/22 of First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford. The people of Wales lost out on £155.5 million of public funding due to "poor account management" by Mr Drakeford's Government, a Senedd committee has claimed. Issue date: Monday March 27, 2023.
Mark Drakeford. Pic: PA

A vote will also need to take place in the Senedd at which opposition groups can put forward their own candidates.

With Labour the largest party, it is unlikely that any other group would take the role.

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The handover in power comes as Wales faces a challenging time, with farmers protesting, NHS waiting lists hitting record highs and an economy recovering from the COVID pandemic.

Mr Drakeford accepted there would be issues for his successor to deal with.

He told the PA news agency: “At whatever point anybody takes on this job there will always be an in-tray that is full, and it will always be an in-tray that’s got some challenging issues in it.”

Asked what advice he would give his successor, Mr Drakeford told them to “be bold” and to “push the boundaries”.

He said: “I’ve long argued that the danger for my party having been in power for an extended period in Wales is that we might look as though we’re simply sort of resting on our laurels, just sort of sitting back and just turning the handle on government.

“The Labour Party is ambitious, it is radical, it is reforming, it will grasp the really challenging issues.”