Serbian conservatives attack appointment of first gay – and female – PM Ana Brnabic
While many have welcomed the appointment of Ireland’s new Prime Minister Leo Varadkar despite his right of center politics, many conservatives in Serbia are unhappy with the election of gay PM Ana Brnabic.
Brnabic, who is not affiliated to any party, has spent only one year in Serbian politics and is currently the minister of public administration and local government.
Brnabic has said that her sexual orientation is irrelevant, telling German broadcaster DW: “I don’t like when being gay is used as an indicator of personality. Why is that important?”
However, according to the Daily Mail, pro-Russian nationalists and traditionalists are not impressed.
‘Ana Brnabic is not my prime minister,’ nationalist official Dragan Markovic-Palma told the private Beta news agency.
Earlier he said he would not approve anyone for the post who does not have at least two children.
The conservative Dveri group, close to the Serbian Orthodox Church, said Brnabic was obviously appointed under Western pressure.
‘Is it possible that the ruling majority has no other candidate for the prime minister-designate but the one imposed by the West which dictates all the moves by this government?’ the party asked.
But her appointment was welcomed by campaigners.
Goran Miletić, a civil rights activist and Belgrade Pride organiser, told the Guardian: ‘Even in some western countries it would be big news and a positive signal if a gay or lesbian person became prime minister or minister. It is even more important for a country where 65% believe that homosexuality is an illness and 78% think that homosexuality should not be expressed outside homes. The appointment of a lesbian can only be a positive message.’
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.
Brnabić will take up her role as Serbia gears up for EU membership while keeping its traditionally close relationship with Russia, and nurturing a growing friendship with China.