The Conservative AM David Melding, who was Deputy Presiding Officer in the last Assembly, has ruled himself out of standing to succeed Dame Rosemary Butler as Presiding Officer.
Assembly rules require that the roles of Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officer are shared between the Government and Opposition. Which opposition party loses one its AMs to a politically neutral role will have a significant impact on the balance of power in the Senedd.
After much soul searching I have come to realise that I am at my best as one of life’s lieutenants. For this reason I do not believe that I am the right person to lead the National Assembly through its next stage of development. I am very grateful to family, friends and colleagues who have given me such generous support and provided me the space to make this decision.
Consequently,I will not seek nomination to become the Assembly’s Presiding Officer.
I look forward to making a full contribution to the work of the 5th Assembly and in particular initiatives to strengthen Welsh democracy and the efficiency of public services.
– David Melding AM
David Melding's decision brings other names into play. One possibility is that Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, who was Presiding Officer in the first three Assemblies, will return to the post. He has often proved a troublesome backbencher for Plaid Leader Leanne Wood but ultimately it's a decision for all AMs, who will vote in a secret ballot if there's more than one candidate.
The sole remaining Liberal Democrat AM, Kirsty Williams, could be a popular choice but if she became Presiding Officer, her party would lose its voice in the Senedd.