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Barbados elects its first female president, replacing Queen Elizabeth II

2021-10-22T16:04:54.057Z

Barbados elected its first female president to replace Queen Elizabeth II of England as head of state, a decisive step towards the republic.



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(Reuters) -

Barbados chose the first female president in its history to replace Queen Elizabeth II of England as head of state, in a decisive step for the Caribbean island to shed its colonial past.

Sandra Mason was elected late Wednesday by two-thirds of the votes of a joint session of the country's Assembly and Senate.

In a statement, the government called his appointment a milestone on its "road to republic."

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A former British colony that became independent in 1966, this nation of just under 300,000 has long maintained its ties to the UK monarchy.

Sandra Mason after being named Grand Cross Lady of the Order of St Michael and St George, at Buckingham Palace on March 23, 2018 in London.

Yet many Barbadians have long struggled to eliminate the queen's status, and with it, the persistent symbolic presence of imperialism in her government.

In this century, various leaders have proposed that the country become a republic.

Who is the new president of Barbados

That will finally happen on November 30, when the 55th anniversary of the country's independence from Great Britain is celebrated and Mason is sworn in.

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A former lawyer who has been the island's governor general since 2018, Mason was also the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley called the election of a female president "a seminal moment" in the country's trajectory.

An image of Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados.

"We just chose among us a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian, does not pretend to be anything else (and) reflects the values ​​of who we are," Mottley said after Mason's election.

Several countries stopped having the Queen as Head of State in the years after her independence, with Mauritius the last to do so, in 1992. This makes Barbados the first country in almost three decades to abandon the British monarchy.

The persistence of Queen Elizabeth

The queen remains the head of state in more than a dozen countries that were under British rule, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Jamaica.

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Wazim Mowla of the Atlantic Council think tank told Reuters the election could benefit Barbados both at home and abroad.

The move makes Barbados, a small developing country, a more legitimate actor in world politics, Mowla said, but it could also serve as a "unifying and nationalist movement" that could benefit its current leaders at home.

"Other Caribbean leaders and their citizens will probably praise the move, but I don't expect others to follow," Mowla added.

"This type of movement will be considered as long as it is in the best interest of each country."

Mottley said the country's decision to become a republic was not a condemnation of its British past.

"We hope to continue the relationship with the British monarchy," he said.

Barbados Queen Elizabeth II

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-10-22

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