Serbia to have first gay prime minister as Ana Brnabic is chosen
The president of Serbia has nominated a gay woman to be his prime minister in a double first for the deeply conservative Balkan state.
Ana Brnabic was chosen by the new President, Aleksandar Vucic. Her approval by parliament will be largely a formality, as his party and its allies hold an overwhelming majority.
Just a few years ago, the appointment would have been unthinkable.
But EU hopeful Serbia can present it as proof of increasing tolerance.
However, the leader of one of the smaller parties in the president’s coalition, Dragan Markovic Palma of Unified Serbia, said Ms Brnabic was “not my prime minister”.
Ms Brnabic will join a small number of gay prime ministers to lead governments in Europe, including Leo Varadkar in the Republic of Ireland and Xavier Bettel in Luxembourg.
The role of prime minister in this administration is likely to be largely symbolic as President Vucic will remain Serbia’s most powerful figure, the BBC’s Guy De Launey reports from Belgrade.
But in this case, the symbolism carries real weight, he adds.
Mr Vucic made no comment about the new prime minister’s sexuality or gender but said Ms Brnabic would “work on Serbia’s betterment”.
Belgrade’s Gay Pride march was banned for three years in succession on grounds of public safety after far-right protesters attacked the event in 2010.
It was revived in 2014 amid huge security, including special forces and armoured cars.