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Barbados Prepares to Officially Drop Monarchy

Country has elected first-ever president
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2021 1:20 PM CDT
Barbados Elects First President, Prepares to Ditch Queen
Britain's Queen Elizabeth is seen during the British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.   (Steven Paston/PA via AP)

(Newser) – Queen Elizabeth II is about to lose a realm for the first time in nearly 30 years. Barbados, which announced its intention to become a republic last year, has elected its first-ever president, who will replace the British monarch as the country's head of state, the BBC reports. Dame Sandra Mason will be sworn in on Nov. 30, the 55th anniversary of the Caribbean nation's independence from Britain, and the transition is likely to be a smooth one: The 72-year-old is currently Barbados' governor-general, the queen's representative.

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Mason was elected by a 27-0 vote in the House of Assembly and an 18-0 vote in the Senate, with one senator abstaining, per Stabroek News. Sen. Caswell Franklyn, a veteran trade unionist, told the Barbados Advocate that while he had no objection to Mason becoming president, he wanted to protest the fact that the election process was decided "willy-nilly" with no legal or constitutional basis. "Where are our regulations?" he asked. "We have none, they are just making them up as they go along."

This is the first time a country has transitioned away from being a constitutional monarchy since Mauritius in 1992. Queen Elizabeth II is still the queen of the UK and 14 other realms, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Jamaica, along with British territories including Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has promised to hold a referendum on making the country a republic, but no date has been set. (Read more Barbados stories.)

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