The 2021 Senedd election sees Wales' three largest political parties – Welsh Labour, the Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru – compete to form the next Welsh Government.

Here are their leaders' profiles, an intimate look at the men who are vying to lead the next government as Wales’s first minister.

Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford became the Welsh Labour leader and first minister in December 2018 following the resignation of predecessor Carwyn Jones.

He said in his victory speech that he would govern “in the radical socialist tradition of Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot”.

This election is the 66-year-old’s first as leader of his party, and comes at a time when his public profile has been significantly boosted  - within Wales and across the UK - due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But he has faced criticism from Welsh businesses for his cautious easing of restrictions compared with elsewhere in the UK, and was forced to defend comments that Wales’s vaccine rollout was “not a sprint” as the country initially lagged behind the rest of the UK.

During the pandemic Mr Drakeford has opposed growing support for Welsh independence, instead arguing for “an entrenched form of devolution” which cannot be rolled back by the UK government.

In March he said the United Kingdom “is over” and a new union should be crafted to reflect a “voluntary association of four nations”. If elected, Mr Drakeford has said he would step down as first minister “before the next election” to hand over to a successor.

READ MORE: The Senedd: an election history

Born in Carmarthen, West Wales, he lives in Cardiff with wife Claire, 69, with whom he has three adult children, as well as her 94-year-old mother. 

The first minister worked as a probation officer before becoming a lecturer at Swansea University and then Cardiff University, where he became professor of social policy and applied social sciences.

His first move into government came as a special adviser to former first minister Rhodri Morgan, and wrote Mr Morgan’s “clear red water” speech which promoted the differences between Labour in Wales and New Labour in London under Tony Blair.

Drakeford entered the Welsh Assembly after being elected to represent Cardiff West in 2011. As Wales’ finance minister he was the only member of the Welsh government cabinet to vote for Jeremy Corbyn during his first national leadership bid in 2015.

Andrew RT Davies

Andrew RT Davies was reappointed as group leader of the Welsh Tories in January. This is his second election as group leader, having led from 2011 to 2018 before quitting following a party row over his support for Brexit.

His return followed Paul Davies’ resignation as group leader, after Paul Davies admitted drinking alcohol with a group of politicians on the Senedd estate just days after a pub alcohol ban came into force in December.

Unlike his rivals, Andrew RT Davies’s official title only extends to leader of his party’s group in the Senedd, and not of the party itself.

In January the 53-year-old was criticised for accusing Sir Keir Starmer of campaigning to “overturn democracy” in a response to the Labour leader’s condemnation of the mob invasion of the US Capitol in Washington DC, but Mr Davies refused to apologise for his comments.

In 2016, his speech at a party conference went viral after he accidentally said the Conservatives would make a success of “breakfast” instead of Brexit, which he later blamed on dyslexia.

Mr Davies has since said he considered the learning difficulty a “weakness” at first, but now sees it as a strength and hopes to be a role model for others.

READ MORE: Eve of election poll hints at Tory boost

He has said Wales needs an independence referendum “like it needs a hole in the head” and is satisfied with the country’s devolution settlement.

He has described himself as a “man who wears his heart on his sleeve” and says he is proud of his route into politics, having left school at 16 to work on his family farm in the village of Llantrithyd, Vale of Glamorgan.

Born in Cowbridge, Davies worked at the farm before his move into politics in 2007 when he was elected on the South Wales Central regional list. He is still involved in the farm, and lives in the area with wife Julia, with whom he has four children.

Adam Price

Adam Price became leader of Plaid Cymru in September 2018 after taking over from Leanne Wood. In his victory speech, Mr Price vowed to bring “new energy and new ideas” to the party, adding: “Our message must be simple. Yes Wales can.”

Since then Mr Price, 52, has continued his party’s campaign for Welsh independence and claimed the pandemic has been a “game changer” for the movement due to the Welsh Government’s contrasting pandemic response to the UK Government.

He has also claimed the UK Government’s initial refusal to extend its furlough scheme to accommodate Wales’s firebreak lockdown – only to do so when England went into its own lockdown – would go down in history as the moment that put Wales “on the path to independence”.

In October 2019 Price was criticised for claiming Wales deserved reparations from the UK government as “England’s first colony”, for which he later apologised for a “poor choice of words”.

Before entering politics he worked as managing director of UK policy and economics consultancy firm Newidiem, and as executive director of the Welsh economic development and cultural change agency Menter a Busnes.

READ MORE: Mark Drakeford on the ‘fractured’ relationship with the UK government 

Price served as a Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr from 2001 before standing down at the 2010 election, and then heading to Harvard University in the US to study for a masters degree in public administration.

During his time in Westminster he campaigned to impeach Tony Blair over the Iraq War, and was ejected from the House of Common’s in March 2005 for refusing to retract a statement accusing the then-prime minister misleading Parliament.

He joined the Welsh Assembly in 2016 after winning Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, and later became the first openly gay party leader in Wales’s history following his 2018 leadership victory.

Price was born in Carmarthen and grew up in the nearby village of Tycroes. His father was a coal miner at Betws Colliery. He and his partner – whose name Price has not revealed – have a young son and are expecting a baby daughter in June.