The Caribbean country’s prime minister told British media on Saturday that Antigua and Barbuda plans to hold a referendum on becoming a republic within the next three years. If successful, this move could result in King Charles III losing his position as monarch.
Shortly after a local ceremony recognized Charles III as the nation’s King in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told ITV News, “This is a matter that has to go to a referendum…within the next, probably three years.”
The tiny Caribbean island nation, which became independent from Britain in 1981, is one of 14 Commonwealth members who share the UK monarch as their head of state.
Brown said becoming a republic was “a final step to complete the circle of independence to ensure we are truly a sovereign nation,” but stressed a referendum was “not an act of hostility” and would not involve retiring Commonwealth membership.
Antigua’s prime minister did not immediately reply to a request for comment, and Reuters was not able to independently verify the proposal.
The nation has a population of less than 100,000, according to official data.
Browne’s pledge comes amid a growing republican push across the Caribbean region, with Barbados voting to remove the UK monarchy last year, and the ruling party in Jamaica having signaled it may follow.
Nonetheless, Browne – who is up for re-election next year – said he was not responding to a widespread push from Antiguans to hold a vote.
“I think most people haven’t even bothered to think about it,” he told ITV.