After Queen’s death, Commonwealth countries rekindle debate over monarch as head of state

London – The death of Queen Elizabeth II reignited the debate over the future and unity of the British Commonwealth, a group of 15 independent countries that have recognized the Queen – and now the new King Charles III – as their formal head of state, democratically above the leader elected from each country.

This list of Commonwealth nations, also known as “kingdoms”, includes Canada and Jamaica across the Atlantic and as far away as Australia and New Zealand in the South Pacific. The queen’s face adorns many coins and banknotes of these countries. Here’s where the kingdom’s countries stand based on recent comments from officials:

Australia: Referendum no earlier than 2025

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, elected to a three-year term last May, has begun laying the groundwork for a nationwide referendum on Australia’s transition to a republic. In June, he appointed the country’s prime minister to begin reviewing the process.

Last Sunday, however, he cut his timeline off out of respect for the Queen and her passing, saying now was a good time to honor her memory, not push for quick change. He said he would not call a referendum during his current first term as prime minister. The next federal election is scheduled for 2025.

New Zealand: Referendum in the “life” of the Prime Minister

Like her Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern supports her country’s transition to a republic but, after the Queen’s death, said she would not push for the change at any time during her own government.

“I’ve made my views clear a number of times. I think that’s where New Zealand will go, in time. I think it will probably happen in my lifetime,” she said. declared. “But I don’t see it as a short-term measure or anything that’s on the agenda anytime soon.”

Ardern added that she never felt the urgency of the issue and that New Zealand had many other challenges ahead.

“This is a big and important debate. I don’t think this is a debate that would happen or should happen quickly,” she said.

She said she saw the country’s relationship with the British royal family “deepening”.

She is leaving this week to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeralscheduled for September 19.

Antigua and Barbuda: Referendum before 2025

Just after Charles was proclaimed king on Saturday, the prime minister of the small eastern Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda said he would hold a referendum on transitioning to a republic and removing King Charles as leader. state in the next three years.

Despite the timing, popular Prime Minister Gaston Browne says his intention does not imply contempt.

“This does not represent any form of disrespect towards the monarch. This is not an act of hostility or a difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy. This is a final step in closing the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation,” he told ITV News in the UK.

Antigua and Barbuda was considered the crown jewel of Britain in the Caribbean, thriving on a slave economy and was even nicknamed Little England. Its transition from colony to independent state, which began in 1952 with the dissolution of the British colony of the Leeward Islands, was completed with its full independence in 1981.

Brown is in the final year of his eight-year term, but is expected to be re-elected next year with a referendum to follow.

If approved, the country follow the island nation of Barbados to the south, which deposed Queen Elizabeth as head of state in November 2021 to become the world’s newest republic – a ceremony attended by then-Prince Charles – as part of a recent upturn in activity in the Caribbean to distance themselves from their British monarchical past.

“Now is the time to completely leave behind our colonial past,” wrote Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

Jamaica: Referendum before 2025

In March, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced his intention for Jamaica to become independent directly to his guests Prince William and Kate, now new Prince and Princess of Wales, during their official visit to the Caribbean island nation.

During their time, a protest took place outside the British High Commission in Kingston, the capital. People demanded an apology and reparations for Britain’s role in the slave trade from Africa.

At a state dinner, Prince William replied: “I want to express my deep sadness. Slavery was heinous. And it should never have happened.”

A government minister for constitutional affairs said a committee to reform the constitution was being set up as Jamaica became a republic by the next general election in 2025.

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