Vaughan Gething has been named the new leader of Welsh Labour and will become the successor to Mark Drakeford as Wales’ First Minister.

The ballot for the election for the new leader closed on 14 March, with the result announced on Saturday, 16 March.

Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles were the only two candidates in the race to succeed Mark Drakeford, who announced his decision to resign as First Minister in December last year.

An Aberystwyth University graduate, Vaughan Gething has served as economy minister for the Welsh Government since 2021.

The MS for Cardiff South and Penarth also served as Health Minister between 2016 and 2021.

He contested Mid and West Wales in the inaugural elections to the-then National Assembly for Wales.

Mr Gething previously stood for the leadership in 2018 when Mr Drakeford took the top job.

With a new Welsh Labour leader now in place, Mark Drakeford will soon hand in his resignation to the King.

The Senedd will then have 28 days to nominate a replacement, who will be formally appointed by the King on the recommendation of the Senedd’s Presiding Officer.

Any MS can stand to become first minister, although the winner of the Welsh Labour leadership election is virtually guaranteed to win the nomination vote in the Senedd.

Reacting to Vaughan Gething’s win, UNISON Cymru/Wales regional secretary Jess Turner said: “Congratulations to Vaughan Gething on his election as the next leader of Welsh Labour.

“A national care service, protecting the NHS from privatisation and working closely with unions must be among his top priorities.

“Public sector workers are still suffering from the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation. They need more money in their pockets, better working conditions and a Labour leader who will fight for fair funding for Wales.”

Plaid Cymru’s leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth, said he had ‘deep concerns’ over Gething’s win.

Mr ap Iorwerth MS said: “I congratulate Vaughan Gething on winning the Welsh Labour leadership election.

“If elected First Minister on Wednesday as expected, his party’s own record means he inherits significant challenges.

“He has sat around the Cabinet table and held key portfolios while Wales’s economy has stagnated, NHS waiting lists have grown, and child poverty remains a national scandal. Nothing said during the leadership campaign suggests that we will now see a gear-change in addressing these huge challenges.

“But he also brings his own personal issues. It is a matter of deep concern that we now have an incoming First Minister who before even taking up the highest public office is facing serious allegations and questions about his judgement.

“At the very least, Vaughan Gething should surely return the £200,000 campaign donation which has rightly drawn so much criticism from within his own party and beyond.

“This is not as good as it gets for Wales. The people of Wales deserve a party that has a real vision for the future – one that’s based on fairness and ambition, and that is what a vote for Plaid Cymru can offer."

Andrew RT Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said: “While I congratulate him on his victory, Wales can expect more of the same with Vaughan Gething as First Minister.

“Gething has been part of a Labour Welsh Government that has presided over record NHS waiting lists, the steepest decline in educational standards in the UK, the highest business rates in Britain, and is committed to the 20mph speed limit.

“In contrast, the Welsh Conservatives have a plan to save Labour’s lost generation, cut NHS waiting lists, restore business rates relief and get Wales moving.”

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said: “First, I would like to congratulate Vaughan Gething for winning the nomination to become the new First Minister

This a bold new beginning for us all, one which could make or break the very future of this country.

We need to see a different approach to the issues facing our nation and not the same “steady as she goes” approach taken by Mr Gething predecessors.

Many people across Wales feel forgotten about, we need a government that meets the needs of everyone here in Wales, from North to South and East to West.

As a representative for Mid and West Wales, I am all too aware of the persisting sense of abandonment felt amongst many rural communities.

Issues facing rural Wales have, for far too long now, been ignored by Welsh Labour ministers in Cardiff Bay.

I respectfully invite Mr Gething to come and visit rural Wales, to see for himself the issues affecting our rural communities and farming industry.

We need a government that’s willing to help Wales realise its potential, that’s willing to protect its environment and healthcare system for future generations.

The people of Wales want a healthy environment and a thriving NHS, and they want a government that’s willing to lead the way in making this dream a reality.

My question to Mr Gething is this, are you willing to give the people of Wales what they want?”