Andrew RT Davies on leading his party into next Senedd election
Andrew RT Davies has said he wants to continue as leader of the Welsh Conservatives and hopes to bring his party into government in 2026.
His party won 16 seats in this year's Senedd election - their best result since the first election in 1999.
Mr Davies held onto his regional seat for South Wales Central.
They gained three new regional seats and two new constituency seats, maintaining their position as the second largest party in the Welsh Parliament.
Welsh Labour held onto their power with 30 seats - just one short of a majority.
However, the final Welsh Political Barometer poll of the 2021 campaign predicted that the Conservatives would gain a number of seats from Labour and win 17 seats overall.
The party also missed out on a number of key target seats in north Wales, many of which turned from red to blue in the 2019 UK general election.
But Mr Davies is focused on "celebrating" the "record result with a record number of MSs returning to Cardiff Bay".
"The centre-right voice is as strong as it's ever been in the Senedd," he added.
"It is a fact though, and it would be churlish not to recognise that Labour obviously had a good night at the office as well, and in some constituencies obviously that proved insurmountable on incumbency basis."
Reflecting on the Conservatives' new members, Mr Davies said he is "excited about crafting that team into a formidable force".
"I hope that we can be in a position to come into government in 2026, and myself leading that party into that election."
Natasha Asghar is one of the newest Conservative Senedd members.
Ms Asghar will represent the South Wales East region for the party.
But the Conservatives still only have three female members, something Mr Davies said "there's more [his party] can do" to change.
"We have a very diverse group, Altaf Hussain is joining us as well as Natasha Asghar, we've got good backgrounds to all the members who are coming there - professional backgrounds in all walks of life - that diversity should be celebrated.
"Of course there's more we can do - mentoring candidates, supporting candidates coming through so they can be fit and ready for the next election."
In their first meeting, Senedd members must elect a new Llywydd (Presiding Officer/PO) and Deputy Presiding Officer (DPO).
The two must be from different parties, one from the party of government and one from an opposition party.
The election is chaired by the former Presiding Officer or, if they are standing, the Senedd Clerk.
Mr Davies has called for one of the two roles to be filled by a Conservative.
"Having that dynamic of a centre-right individual sitting either in the DPO or PO's position I think would benefit Welsh politics and Welsh society, and importantly benefit the relationship with other parliaments and governments across the UK."