VOTING in the 2021 Welsh Parliament election closed last night with people having to wait until later today to find out which party is in pole position to form the next government.

Polls opened at 7am on Thursday and closed at 10pm in the first election since the legislature was renamed from the National Assembly of Wales, and the first to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote.

The results will be seen as a reflection of how the Welsh public have rated First Minister Mark Drakeford and his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Alyn Waters Country Park,Mold Rd, Gwersyllt, Wrexham Rachael and Ben Turpin and son Finlay 5 months

Alyn Waters Country Park,Mold Rd, Gwersyllt, Wrexham Rachael and Ben Turpin and son Finlay 5 months

With Mr Drakeford calling for a radical redrawing of the UK and Adam Price’s Plaid Cymru wanting independence, the make-up of the next Welsh Government could also determine the future of Wales’s place in the union.

Penyfford Youth and Community Centre Queue to vote

Penyfford Youth and Community Centre Queue to vote

Following the closing of the polls, Mr Drakeford said: “The votes of the people of Wales have been cast.

“On behalf of Welsh Labour, I thank everyone who has voted for us, and all those who have participated in these elections – particularly the 16 and 17 year olds who have exercised their new right to vote for the first time."

Penyfford Youth and Community Centre Queue to vote - Jane Lloyd leaves after casting her vote

Penyfford Youth and Community Centre Queue to vote - Jane Lloyd leaves after casting her vote

“In the coming days, the political make-up of the next Senedd will become clear. We await those results.

“My party and I enter the next few days in the same spirit we have approached this campaign – ready to serve, ready to lead a jobs-first recovery, and ready to move Wales forward.”

Voting Caia Park Wrexham The Venture - Adventure Playground Wade Haldane

Voting Caia Park Wrexham The Venture - Adventure Playground Wade Haldane

Welsh Conservatives Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies said: “It’s been an unconventional campaign, but one that’s been fought in good spirit by political parties. Thank you to the many officials across the country who’ve allowed this election to take place in a safe and efficient manner.

“The results of today’s election could take a while to become clear, but our message remains the same, protecting jobs and kick-starting Wales’s economy has to be the priority.”

Changes to ensure social distancing at count venues means the counting process is not taking place soon after polls close as in previous elections, with it instead expected to begin across Wales from 9am on Friday with results starting to come in from the afternoon.

Social distancing measures were also thought to have been the reason behind the long queues seen outside several polling stations on Thursday.

Plans have been made by returning officers to adjourn the process until Saturday morning if it is believed staff will not be able to finish counting ballots by Friday evening.

It means the final make-up of the next Senedd may not be confirmed until the weekend if results in some constituencies are close and recounts are called.

No party has ever won an outright majority in Wales, meaning the party which has won the most seats will be expected to enter into talks with other parties or independent members in order to form the next Welsh Government.

Members of the new Senedd will meet next week to elect a new presiding officer.

Voting Caia Park Wrexham The Venture - Adventure Playground Alina and Marius Zaharia

Voting Caia Park Wrexham The Venture - Adventure Playground Alina and Marius Zaharia

Here is a guide to the likely declaration times of results following the elections which took place on May 6 – Super Thursday – in England, Scotland and Wales:

Thursday May 6

  • 10pm: Polls closed across Great Britain. Counting began for the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election, Doncaster mayor and 18 of 143 councils in England.

Friday May 7

  • From 2am: First results likely from the 18 councils in England counting overnight: Colchester, Derby, Dudley, Gateshead, Harlow, Knowsley, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Oldham, Redditch, Rochdale, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, South Tyneside, Stockport, Sunderland and Thurrock.
  • 4am to 6am: Hartlepool by-election result expected.
  • By 6am: Doncaster mayoral result.
  • From around 9am: Counting begins in all seats for the Welsh Parliament; seven of the 14 constituencies for the London Assembly; 46 of the 73 constituencies for the Scottish Parliament; 79 councils in England (77 of which are due to declare on Friday); seven of the 39 elections for police and crime commissioners; and the elections for the mayors of Liverpool and Tees Valley. No results are likely during the morning.
  • From 12pm: First results expected from the 46 Scottish parliamentary constituencies counting on Friday.
  • The first results are also due from 77 councils in England counting and declaring on Friday.
  • From 2pm: Liverpool mayoral result.
  • From 3pm: First results likely from Wales. All results for the Welsh Parliament are due to be declared by late Friday evening.
  • The result for the Tees Valley mayor should be declared during the afternoon, along with six of the seven police and crime commissioners being counted on Friday: Avon & Somerset, Bedfordshire, Cleveland, Dorset, North Yorkshire and Staffordshire. The seventh result, Derbyshire, is due in the evening.
  • From early evening: First results from London. The seven constituencies being counted on Friday are Bexley & Bromley, Brent & Harrow, Ealing & Hillingdon, Havering & Redbridge, Lambeth & Southwark, North East and West Central.
  • Around 7pm the result is due for the Derbyshire police and crime commissioner.
  • Final results are also due from Wales, along with any remaining results from the 46 of 73 Scottish parliamentary constituencies counting on Friday.

Saturday May 8

  • From around 9am: Counting resumes.
  • In London, the remaining seven assembly constituencies will begin counting, after which the London-wide seats will be allocated. In Scotland, the remaining 27 constituency seats will be counted, after which the regional seats will be allocated.
  • A total of 38 councils in England are due to declare their results on Saturday, along with 13 of the 39 police and crime commissioners. Counts will also begin in the mayoral elections for Bristol, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, London, North Tyneside, Salford, the West of England and the West Midlands.
  • From 12pm: First results due from the 38 councils in England counting on Saturday. These are Bradford, Broxbourne, Buckinghamshire, Calderdale, Cannock Chase, Cheltenham, Durham, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gloucester, Gosport, Hartlepool, Hertfordshire, Kirklees, Lancashire, Leeds, Milton Keynes, North Tyneside, Norwich, Oxford, Portsmouth, Rotherham, Shropshire, Slough, Southampton, Staffordshire, Stevenage, Stroud, Tamworth, Tunbridge Wells, Warrington, Watford, Welwyn Hatfield, West Lancashire, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Winchester and Worcester.
  • The results for the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Liverpool City Region, North Tyneside and West of England mayors are due.
  • Results will also start coming in for the remaining 27 Scottish parliamentary constituencies.
  • From early afternoon: Results for 13 police and crime commissioners are likely, though some may not be announced until the evening. The results being announced on Saturday are for Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Durham, Essex, Humberside, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Norfolk, Northumbria, Nottinghamshire, Surrey and the West Midlands.
  • From mid-afternoon: The results for the Greater Manchester, Salford and West Midlands mayors are likely.
  • From early evening: Results due from the seven remaining London Assembly constituencies: Barnet & Camden, City & East, Croydon & Sutton, Enfield & Haringey, Greenwich & Lewisham, Merton & Wandsworth and South West. Once these results are in, the results for the London-wide seats in the assembly will be calculated and published. Following this, the result for the London mayoral election will be announced. This could be delayed until Sunday morning if the counting takes longer than expected.
  • In Scotland, once all the constituencies have been counted and declared, the regional seats will be calculated and allocated. Again, if there are any delays then some results might not be announced until Sunday.
  • The Bristol mayoral result is also likely on Saturday evening.

Sunday May 9

  • From around 9am: Any possible late declarations from Scotland or London. In England, 10 councils are due to start counting. Votes will also be counted for the West Yorkshire mayor, and for the police and crime commissioners for Dyfed-Powys, Gwent and North Wales. The count for the South Wales commissioner may also take place.
  • From 12pm: Results are due from 10 councils in England. These are Adur, Amber Valley, Basingstoke & Deane, Bristol, Cherwell, North Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, St Albans, West Oxfordshire and Worthing.
  • Results for the police and crime commissioners in Dyfed-Powys, Gwent and North Wales are due in the afternoon, along with South Wales if the count is taking place on Sunday.
  • The result of the election for the West Yorkshire mayor is also due.

Monday May 10

  • From around 9am: Counting will begin for 15 police and crime commissioners, along with any remaining councils in England.
  • From early afternoon: Results are due for the police and crime commissioners for Cumbria, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Sussex, Thames Valley, Warwickshire, West Mercia and Wiltshire.

Tuesday May 11

  • If any elections are delayed significantly by recounts or other issues, there is a chance some results might not be declared until Tuesday.