Wales: Vaughan Gething Elected First Black Leader


Vaughan Gething was elected the first black leader of Wales on Wednesday when lawmakers in the devolved Welsh administration voted to make him first minister.

The 50-year-old said the country of three million people, which is part of the United Kingdom, had become the “first nation anywhere in Europe to be led by a black person”.

“It is a matter of pride for a modern Wales but also a daunting responsibility for me –- and one that I do not take lightly,” Gething told the Welsh parliament, known as the Senedd Cymru in Welsh.

Gething succeeds Mark Drakeford, 69, who stepped down on Tuesday. He had been first minister since December 2018.

Gething was announced as the winner of the Welsh Labour election on Saturday.

Labour heads the administration in Cardiff and his appointment by Welsh assembly members on Wednesday was seen as a foregone conclusion.

Gething was born in Zambia to a white father from Wales and a black Zambian mother.

Gething’s election heralds the latest political transition in the UK, and for the first time none of the leaders of its four governments is a white man.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is of Indian descent, while the parents of Scotland’s pro-independence first minister Humza Yousaf migrated from Pakistan.

Yousaf took office last year while Michelle O’Neill made history last month by becoming Northern Ireland’s first Irish nationalist leader.

Opinion polls tip UK Labour leader Keir Starmer to succeed Sunak, a Conservative, as UK prime minister following a general election due this year.

In 1998, Tony Blair’s Labour government devolved a number of powers, including healthcare, transport and social policies, from London to new legislatures in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

The UK government sets policies for England and retains control over countrywide issues such as foreign policy and defence.

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