A gay woman, Ana Brnabić, has been appointed Prime Minister of Serbia.
Brnabić is both the country’s first openly gay and its first female Prime Minister.
Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, announced Brnabić’s appointment yesterday describing her as “hard-working, [with] professional and personal qualities”, reports The Guardian.
I do not believe that Brnabić will lead or have an impact on foreign policy
Brnabić’s appointment has surprised many, given that Serbian society does not have favourable attitudes towards homosexuality. Over the years Pride events in the country’s capital Belgrade have been subject to violent attacks from anti-gay protestors.
In 2009 Belgrade Pride was cancelled when police could not guarantee the safety of participants. In October 2010 a Pride parade did take place in Belgrade but was met with violent riots attended by 6,000 anti-gay protesters and extreme nationalist group members.
However, commentators had expected that President Vučić would appoint a “puppet”, someone he could maintain control over, in a matter of policy. Brnabić’s appointment fits into this expectation, while simultaneously giving the appearance of more progressive attitude towards human and LGBT rights than actually exists in Serbia at the moment.
“I do not believe that Brnabić will lead or have an impact on foreign policy,” said Boban Stojanović, a political scientist at the University of Belgrade told The Guardian. “This will remain the exclusive domain of President Vučić.”
“The problem is that it will mask the real picture of the situation of civil and human rights in Serbia. The choice of a member of the LGBT community for prime minister will be used as an indicator of the state of civil and human rights, and that is not realistic.”
According to the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, research carried out in 2012 showed that 48% of Serbs believe that homosexuality is an illness.
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