Which things are taboo in Serbia

Serbia is ruled by a woman for the first time

For the first time, Serbia has a woman as head of government - who is also openly committed to her homosexuality. Head of State Vucic proposed Ana Brnabic to parliament for the post.

The new head of government in Serbia will be the previous Minister of Public Administration, Ana Brnabic, as the first woman in the history of the country and in the Balkans. The 41-year-old is non-party and is an openly lesbian. In Serbia, where four fifths of the population are Orthodox Christians, homosexuality is still often a taboo.

“Serving my country is my greatest honor. I will work with dedication and responsibility - with a lot of love and honesty, ”said Brnabic on Thursday evening. The Serbian head of state Aleksandar Vucic had previously announced his decision to the parliament to propose Brnabic as prime minister in front of the press. She has the "personal and professional qualities to exercise this office".

The approval of the parliament was considered a formality. Vucic's conservative-economically liberal Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) has a comfortable majority there. Brnabic recently stated that, in her opinion, the president should be “some kind of mentor to the head of government” - “at least for the first few months”.

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Brnabic, who was born in Belgrade and graduated from Hull University in the UK, had only entered politics last August. In doing so, she followed the call of Vucic, who at the time was still head of government himself and made her administration minister.

Before joining the government, Brnabic worked, among other things, for the mixed-economy organization Naled, which was set up in 2006 to promote the economic development and competitiveness of Serbia.

Brnabic's entry into the government had caused irritation in Vucic's party and its coalition partners. Vucic had replied that he was not interested in his minister's sexual orientation. All that matters is the results of her work, and her professional career is "flawless".

Dragan Markovic, whose United Serbia party is a member of the government alliance, reiterated his criticism. He had already made Front v. Brnabic's nomination for minister last year. Now he campaigned for a "man and a father" to be at the head of the government.

Brnabic called the statements "inappropriate, irresponsible and undoubtedly discriminatory". She stresses that she is not an activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. At the same time, the politician points out that homophobia is a problem in Serbia in particular. However, the situation is "slowly improving".

She wonders why sexual orientation is so important, the reserved-looking woman recently said. What is important is the "ability to work professionally" and the willingness to give everything for your country.

In Serbia and neighboring countries, homosexuality or transsexuality is often viewed as a disease that can only be lived out in private. Under pressure from the European Union, with which Serbia has been holding accession talks since 2014, the government is forced to improve protection for sexual minorities.

As recently as 2010, right-wing extremist demonstrators against the homosexual parade had serious rioting at the Belgrade Gay Pride Parade. More than 150 people were injured.