Antigua and Barbuda may soon vote to remove its newly crowned sovereign, King Charles lll, as the Caribbean nation reconsiders monarchy following Queen Elizabeth II’s death.
On Saturday (September 10), Prime Minister Gaston Browne said it would be up to the people of Antigua and Barbuda to decide whether to move forward with the British monarch as head of state.
“This is a matter that has to be taken to a referendum for the people to decide,” Browne told ITV. “It does not represent any form of disrespect to the monarch. This is not an act of hostility or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy.”
Browne said he would introduce a referendum on becoming a republic during his next term in office if he is reelected.
“It is a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation,” he said, noting that a vote on the measure would probably take place “in the next three years.”
Though the nation gained its independence in 1981, Antigua and Barbuda remain among 14 countries where the British monarch reigns as head of state outside of the United Kingdom, per Buzzfeed. The monarchy holds a largely symbolic role in these countries, which make up the Commonwealth Realms.
According to Buzzfeed, the Commonwealth Realms differ from other members of the Commonwealth of Nations that have replaced the monarchy with a republic government.
The queen’s death may lead to a renewed wave of nations in the Commonwealth Realms moving to establish republics, the outlet reports.