Johanna Sigurdardottir, Iceland’s new interim prime minister and the first woman or openly gay person in this position, was officially appointed yesterday by Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson. Sigurdardottir served as the welfare minister under former Prime Minister Geir Haarde, who resigned last week as a result of Iceland’s economic collapse. Sigurdardottir is currently the only openly gay national leader in the world. Also, according to the Associated Press, Sigurdardottir’s Cabinet is the first in Iceland to be balanced evenly by gender.
The international gay community has lauded Sigurdardottirs appointment, but the Icelandic media is focused primarily on how the new prime minister will repair the economy. In a televised appearance Sunday, Sigurdardottir said “We’ve put together an agenda I hope will be enough to heal the discord in society and facilitate reconciliation. We live in difficult times and need to restructure the Icelandic economy and adopt new values,” according to the Calgary Herald.
Iceland has some of the most progressive gay rights legislation in the world and legalized gay marriage in 1996.