Proportional voting will be introduced to Welsh council elections for the first time as the franchise is extended to 16- and 17-year olds and foreigners.
The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill, which passed its stage four vote 39 to 16 last night, will give councils the opportunity to move to single transferable vote (STV) using an opt-in system similar to that used in New Zealand.
Scotland already uses the STV system for local elections.
Councils will also be required to consult and publish a public participation strategy, with the aim of making it easier for residents to understand how local government functions, how it makes decisions, how local people can follow proceedings, and how they can input their views and have them taken into account.
Speaking after the Bill was passed, minister for housing and local government, Julie James, said: ‘This Bill will enable a local democracy which reflects our diversity as a nation, provide local government with new ways to support and serve their communities, and reinvigorate local democracy in Wales.’
Director of the Welsh branch of the Electoral Reform Society, Jess Blair, added: ‘Wales is leading the way on reforming the way local democracy can work to ensure that even at the most local level, our democracy is fair and representative.
‘These changes set a blueprint for the rest of the UK and shows just what is possible when there is the will to get it done.
'Now it is England’s turn to follow.'