Barbados has first general election in decades, and new prime minister has already taken office

The New Barbados Royalist party’s Augustus Rose swept to victory on Monday, in a vote where he will replace Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. The queen has refused to abdicate as head of state of the British overseas territory for close to 60 years. However, a referendum in 2018 declared that the government should have the final say in how the country will decide its future. Following the contest, Prime Minister Mia Mottley declared, “What many might have expected is, in fact, what transpired: a resounding mandate from Barbadians for a new mandate, for a new leadership and for a new vision for Barbados.”

On Twitter, Barbados’ prime minister said she “was delighted” for the party, and for residents of the tropical island nation. Although he was confident of victory on Monday, he has to now overcome some legal and constitutional hurdles. Before he is elected, he has to hold two debates — the first on government’s priorities, as mandated by a referendum. Then he has to form a minority government, which could be more difficult due to his small minority party’s vote size.

Barbados is to hold its first ever general election. Its Parliament has been dissolved and Prime Minister Mia Mottley has declared that Parliament will not meet again until after the electoral system is reviewed. They have both confirmed that she will dissolve Parliament on July 21. And no further elections will be held until after the 2020 general election.

In August of last year, all Barbadians voted in a referendum about whether to create a referendum for when to hold general elections. 75.4 percent of Barbadians voted to have a referendum regarding the country’s constitution, raising the possibility that they could hold elections as early as November this year. However, given the government’s requirement for two debates and the upcoming general election, his party may have to wait until March, 2020.

This isn’t the first time Barbados has held its first general election in decades. In September 1983, the conservative party won the vote but fell short of gaining a majority in Parliament. Queen Elizabeth II became the head of state in 1961. Her descendants are the Royal Family of Barbados, one of ten that includes New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Wales.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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