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Gay Woman Named Serbian Prime Minister

Political power likely to stay in hands of President Vucic and FM Dacic.

16 June 2017

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has picked non-party expert Ana Brnabic (pictured) to head the next government.

 

Vucic made the announcement yesterday, saying Brnabic will continue the current policy of reforms. Currently the minister of public administration and local government, she holds strong pro-EU views, Balkan Insight reports.

 

If the parliament approves the appointment, as it is expected, Brnabic will become Serbia’s first woman and first openly gay prime minister. Strong, often violent opposition from the Orthodox Church and far-right groups has slowed the acceptance of gay people in Serbia. Vucic, a former nationalist, made EU entry his top priority during his three-year term as prime minister, and he remains the country’s most powerful figure, the BBC says.

 

Vucic said Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, the leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party and acting prime minister, "will essentially head the political portion," while Brnabic will be responsible for the economy and issues such as digitization, B92 reports.

 

Serbian LGBT organizations welcomed Brnabic’s appointment. The Gay Echo group earlier this year named her "Gay icon for 2016,” Balkan Insight says.

 

Born in 1975, Brnabic received a master’s degree in marketing from Hull University in the UK and has more than 10 years’ experience working with international organizations, civil society groups, and local government in Serbia.

 

 

  • Then-Prime Minister Vucic spoke of Brnabic’s pride in being a gay woman when he named her a cabinet minister in August 2016.

 

  • Brnabic’s appointment comes days after Leo Varadkar, a gay man, became prime minister of overwhelmingly Catholic Ireland.

 

  • Vucic yesterday also said some changes in the cabinet will be revealed this weekend, and that one or two new ministries will be created, B92 cites Tanjug as reporting.

 

  • Belgrade authorities cancelled gay-pride marches three years in a row after far-right protesters attacked the first such march in 2010. Marches have been successfully held since 2014 under heavy security.

 

  • As an EU candidate, Serbia is expected to step up protection of the rights of sexual minorities. 

Compiled by TOL

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