Welsh Labour has confirmed the official start of the contest which will choose a successor to Carwyn Jones as leader and consequently First Minister.

It follows his formal notification to party chiefs yesterday allowing the process to begin even though they've been preparing since he announced in March that he'd be standing down.

The party has said that nominations for the election open today (Thursday)

There's likely to be three Assembly Members n the race for the top job. In order to take part candidates need nominations from at least five fellow AMs.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford is the front runner. He has public pledges of support from 16 other AMs.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething is also certain to be a candidate because he has commitments from five of his colleagues.

Welsh Language minister Eluned Morgan is one nomination short but will be in the contest because Carwyn Jones himself has said he will nominate her without endorsing her because of concerns that there wouldn't have been a female candidate. He had intended not to nominate anyone.

Nominations close at noon on 3rd October. Ballot papers will be sent out to Labour party members and members of affiliated unions and other organisations on 9th November.

The winner will be declared on 6th December. At that point, Carwyn Jones will formally resign as Welsh Labour leader.

He'll stay on as First Minister until after his final question session on 11th December when he'll resign. It's all but certain that his successor as Welsh Labour leader will become the next First Minister.