The Welsh Assembly was formed on 1 July 1999, the same day that saw formation of the Scottish Parliament.
Unlike the Scottish Parliament, where devolved powers include the ability to create and change law, the Welsh Assembly is largely limited to policy decisions regarding the allocation of Treasury funds. Next year this fund will exceed £8.5bn.
As with the Scottish system, the assembly is made up of one chamber only, supported by a series of committees.
The 60 members are elected to serve four years on a proportional representation basis.
The leader of the assembly - the first secretary - is elected by the members and will usually be a member of the leading party.
The current first secretary, Rhodri Morgan, is a member of the Labour Party.
The first secretary in turn selects a number of assembly secretaries to form the assembly cabinet.
Beneath the main assembly, subject committees develop policies and examine what the assembly does. Members are elected to serve on the subject committees to reflect the balance of political groups in the assembly as a whole.
Four regional committees then represent the needs and interests of their localities and convey issues of local concern to the full assembly and to the subject committees.