Vaughan Gething elected as first minister of Wales

Vaughan Gething elected as first minister of Wales

Vaughan Gething was elected first minister of Wales on Wednesday, becoming the first black leader of a government in the UK.

Gething won the leadership in the Welsh parliament by securing 27 out of 51 votes, just four days after becoming the leader of Wales' governing Labour Party. Labour holds the majority in the Senedd, the Welsh legislature.

Gething, the son of a Welsh father and a Zambian mother, said Wales is now “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," he added.

Gething will be sworn in once his appointment is approved by King Charles III.

Three of the UK’s four governments now have nonwhite leaders. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has Indian heritage, while Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf was born to a Pakistani family in Britain.

Gething was Wales’ health minister during the COVID-19 pandemic. As economy minister since 2021, he had to deal with fallout from Tata Steel’s plan to close both blast furnaces at its plant in Port Talbot, eliminating 2,800 jobs at one of Wales’ biggest employers.

He’ll take over a government that is often at odds with Sunak’s Conservative administration in London. Wales has also seen a wave of protests over environmental rules by farmers, similar to those that have roiled France and other European countries.

His leadership bid faced scrutiny over a £200,000 donation from a recycling company convicted of environmental and health and safety violations, though Gething stated that the donations were properly declared according to electoral rules.