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29 years after Mauritius, Barbados to Drop Queen Elizabeth as Head of State

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Queen Elizabeth (left) and Dame Sandra Mason | CREDIT: STEVE PARSONS - WPA POOL/GETTY

Barbados has its first-ever president elect.

Dame Sandra Mason, 72, was elected when she won a two-thirds vote during a joint session of the Caribbean nation’s House of Assembly and Senate on Wednesday.

Mason, who is the current governor-general of Barbados, will be sworn in Nov. 30 on the 55th anniversary of Barbados’ independence from Britain. At that time, Mason will replace Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state in the nation’s process of becoming a republic, CNN reported.

Mason has worked as a schoolteacher, a magistrate, the ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Brazil and she was the first female Court of Appeal judge of the Supreme Court of Barbados, according to her official bio. She served as registrar of the Supreme Court until 2005.

In 2018, she became governor-general, an executive position appointed by the Queen based on the prime minister’s recommendation.

Barbados, a former British colony with a population of nearly 300,000, announced plans to become a republic last year. Its independence from Britain dates to 1966.

The Queen remains head of state for 15 other sovereign countries that were previously under British rule, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The last country to replace her as its figurehead was Mauritius in 1992, with Cassam Uteem appointed as President of the Republic.

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