Wales politics

UKIP seat in assembly likely in 2016, says academic

Welsh assembly Image copyright PA
Image caption The Welsh assembly elections are being held in 2016 with the general election next May

UKIP could have its first AM when the Welsh assembly elections are held in 2016, an academic has said.

Dr Rebecca Rumbul from the Wales Governance Centre thinks the party could win a seat as some are won by a form of proportional representation.

But she does not believe it will gain any MPs in Wales at next year's general election because of the "first past the post" system.

She spoke after UKIP won a by-election to see its first MP elected in England.

Thursday's victory for Nigel Farage's party led Prime Minister David Cameron to say the general election would be "the most important in a generation".

Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband said his party needed to "reach out" to disaffected voters.

A recent BBC Wales poll suggests support for UKIP ahead of the general election has doubled from 7% to 14%.

UKIP has already said it plans to open an office in the south Wales valleys.

UKIP Welsh MEP Nathan Gill predicts the party's current momentum can carry them to victory in at least one Welsh seat next May.

But Dr Rumbul told BBC Radio Wales it was more likely the party would be successful in the assembly elections in 2016.

She said people tend to vote differently in the different types of elections with UKIP performing strongly in the European elections in May in comparison to the general election in 2010.

"Because of the way the general election system works - the first past the post system - I do think it's unlikely that UKIP will get an MP from Wales," she said.

"However, our system in the Welsh assembly is much different and under that system it's actually quite likely that we may see some UKIP AMs returned in 2016."

The Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University examines issues affecting Wales covering law, politics and government.

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