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Welsh Parliamentary Election of 2008
All 174 seats to the Ty Isod
15 May 2008
Turnout 100%
First party Second party Third party
Carwyn Jones - Leader CDP Dafydd Iwan - Leader Socialist Party John Marek - Leader Forward Dragon Party
Leader Carwyn Jones Dafydd Iwan Iwan Meurig
Party Christian Democratic Party Socialist Party Plaid Y Ddraig Ymlaen
Leader since 2005 2002 2006
Last election 34 seats (17.5%) 60 seats (32.3%) Eight seats (5.1%)
Seats won 41 32 26
Seat change +7 −28 +18
Popular vote 828,542 577,699 577,699
Percentage 21.8% 15.2% 15.2%
Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Ann Clwyd -Leader SDP Jon Owen Jones - Leader Catholic Party Molly Scott Cato - Leader Green Party
Leader Ann Clwyd Jon Owen Jones Molly Scott Cato
Party Social Democratic Party Plaid Catholig The Green Party
Last election 38 seats (22.1%) 16 seats (12.0%) Six seats (4.7%)
Seats won 25 20 16
Seat change −14 +4 +10
Popular vote 562,496 535,891 429,473
Percentage 14.8% 14.1% 11.3%
Chancellor before election
Dafydd Iwan
Socialist Party
Carwyn Jones
Christian Democratic Party

The sixth general election of the Levelinian era (latinised version of Llywelyn) would see the Socialist Party which had dominated Welsh politics since 1994 defeated by the Christian Democratic Party. The election was a hard fought one and dominated by talk of the economy. The earlier Ty Uchaf election in 2006 had set the tone for the final two years of the Iwan Government, and faced with a hostile Upper House, the Government had faced a demanding final run to the elections. The Socialist Party had stormed to a commanding position in the Lower House following the 2002 elections which had seen a Socialist/SDP coalition of 82 seats (6 short of an outright majority) grow to a majority coalition of 98 seats. As the election of 2008 grew nearer, however, dissent within the SDP, scandals within the upper ranks of the Socialists, economic mismanagement and a general rise in popularity of the new party (the PyDY or Forward Dragon Party) had eaten into the confidence of the ruling parties.

Parties Contesting the Election

  • Christian Democrat Party (Plaid Gwerinwr Cristnogol) - Centre right party
  • Social Democrat Party (Plaid Gwerinwr Cymdeithasol) - Centre left party
  • The Socialist Party (Plaid Sosialydd) - Left wing party
  • The White Eagle Party (Plaid Eryr Gwyn) - Far right party
  • Forward Dragon Party (Plaid Y Ddraig Ymlaen) - Centerist party
  • The Green Party (Plaid Gwyrdd) - Environmental party
  • The Catholic Party (Plaid Catholig) - Right wing party
  • The Communist Party (Plaid Comiwnyddol) - Far left party

Electoral System

For seats in the Ty Isod the Assembly Members are elected by a mixture of First Past the Post (FPTP) constituencies and then the Additional Member system whereby an element of proportionality is introduced to the system. The System is designed to favour the national vote with 111 of the 173 seats coming by way of the National List, with 62 AM's representing the constituencies. This system was first introduced following the Great War of 1939-45 when the American's were influential in trying to prevent a Communist takeover of the country.

The Additional Members are elected via a simple national list. The parties post a list of candidates and these are selected in order according to the percentage of the national vote.

The 2008 Campaign

During the campaign itself the two main parties engaged in very negative tactics, with the CDP and the SP tearing chunks from each other. The SDP under Ann Clwyd tried to justify its time in government, but the party which made the most ground was the FDP. Under John Marek the party had grown in popularity and in contrast to the two main parties, the FDP engaged in a positive campaign, highlighting what they had to offer to Wales rather than what the other parties could not offer. This positivity gave the FDP another large surge in the polls. With the exit polls indicating that the Socialist Party would lose large numbers of seats talks began between the parties to determine the new coalition.

Back in 1997 the CDP had emerged as the largest single party, but its inability to form a coalition had given the reins of power to the Socialist/SDP alliance and had ushered in 12 years of Socialist rule. Carwyn Jones was not prepared to make the same mistakes as his predecesor and began to hammer out a deal with John Marek.

In the end a CDP/FDP alliance was not sufficient to form a majority government so talks were enlarged to include Jon Owen Jones' Catholic Party. Giving them some concessions led to a deal and a month after the nation went to the polls a new right wing CDP/FDP/CP alliance government with Carwyn Jones as Chancellor was sworn into office.

Party Direct Vote Seats Additional Member Seats Total Seats
Christian Democratic Party - Plaid Gwerinwr Cristnogol 17 24 41
The Socialist Party - Plaid Sosialydd 15 17 32
Forward Dragon Party - Plaid y Ddraig Ymlaen 9 17 26
Social Democratic Party - Plaid Gwerinwr Cymdeithasol 9 15 24
The Catholic Party - Plaid Catholig 4 16 20
The Green Party - Plaid Gwyrdd 3 13 16
The Communist Party - Plaid Comiwnyddol 4 4 8
The White Eagle Party - Plaid Eryr Gwyn 1 5 6