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Barbados nominates candidates for a snap election this month — its first as a queen-less republic

A photo of Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottle standing at a podium at the climate summit in Scotland.
Alberto Pezzali
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley speaking at the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley — who led her island's drive to be a republic and has emerged as a Caribbean leader — has called an election for Jan. 19.

In November, the Caribbean island of Barbados dropped Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and became a republic — one that's now holding its first election this month, with nominations being made Monday.

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Barbados is now the fourth British Commonwealth nation in the Americas to ditch the Queen. Its new head of state, President Dame Sandra Mason, has only a figurehead role. Barbados’ real governing authority is Prime Minister Mia Mottley – who has called a snap parliamentary election for Jan. 19.

The election is meant as a sort of reset for Barbados’ new republican government. But it has wider significance. That’s because Mottley has emerged as something of a spokesperson for the Caribbean as a whole — especially at the international climate change summit in Scotland last year, where she warned rich nations that their failure to curb global warming is all but dooming island nations.

Should Mottley and her center-left Labour Party win big in this month’s election, it will be one more indication that she is the leader to watch in the Caribbean now.

One key effect Mottley could have is convincing other British Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean to become republics. Among them: Jamaica, where polls show most citizens also support removing the Queen as head of state.