Vaughan Gething set to become first minister of Wales today

media wales
Vaughan Gething was elected as the new leader of Welsh Labour, receiving 51.7% of the vote. Credit: Media Wales

Senedd members are expected to confirm later today that Vaughan Gething will become the next first minister of Wales.

He is set to take over from Mark Drakeford who resigned from the top job on Tuesday.

But opposition parties will vote against Mr Gething's appointment and nominate their own leaders instead.

The new first minister is due to be selected on Wednesday by the Senedd following the Labour leadership announcement on Saturday.

Mr Gething was elected as the new leader of Welsh Labour on Saturday, 16 March. He received 51.7% of the vote, while his rival Jeremy Miles secured 48.3%.

As a result, Mr Drakeford, who has been the party leader since December 2018, has stepped down as first minister this week.

He delivered his resignation speech on Tuesday following his final FMQs.

In his final address as first minister, Mr Drakeford said he was "most grateful of all to the people" that he has been "lucky enough to serve".

To become first minister, a candidate must be nominated by Members of the Senedd (MSs) and voted upon in the Welsh Parliament.

Once the current first minister resigns, the Senedd has 28 days to nominate a successor.

Although any MS can run for first minister, typically the leader of the party with the most MSs assumes the role.

In this case, new Welsh Labour leader Mr Gething is almost certainly set to become Wales' first minister.

If there are multiple candidates, MSs vote in a single round and the winner is determined by a simple majority.

Mr Gething has already made history, becoming the first black person to be elected Welsh Labour leader. Should he be appointed first minister on Wednesday, he would be the first black leader of any European country.

Mr Gething's appointment as leader of Welsh Labour has not come without its challenges. He has already faced intense scrutiny over his role as health minister during the Covid-19 pandemic at the UK Covid Inquiry, while his leadership campaign was overshadowed by his controversial acceptance of a £200,000 donation from a company whose director was convicted of environmental offences.

Once the Senedd selects a nominee, the presiding officer sends a letter to the King recommending that person for appointment.

After approval from the King, the new first minister will be sworn in via Royal Warrant. They will take the official oath before a judge and pledge to serve King Charles III.

Typically, the new first minister becomes a member of the Privy Council and may have a private audience with the King.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Andrew RT Davies - leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd - said of Mr Gething: "He's gotten off to a difficult start with the donation of £200,000 and the disquiet on his own backbenchers.

"It's not a great way to start your tenure as first minister.

"My name will be going forward to be considered for first minister in the vote, but Labour do have the votes so we can take it that Vaughan will be that individual.

"But he's got a lot of fires to put out on his own backbenches and within his party before he can get his head around the really important job of being first minister and delivering for the people of Wales."

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