Iceland Prime Minister Johanna
Sigurdardottir, the world's first openly lesbian head of state, has
announced she won't return next year.
“There is a time for everything, also
for my time in politics which has been long and eventful,” she said
in a statement. “Now I believe it is time for others to take the
baton that was passed to me following the crash. I have therefore
decided to leave political life at the end of this term.”
Sigurdardottir, a former member of the
Icelandic Parliament since 1978, stepped in to take over the nation's
reigns as Prime Minister Geir Haarde was forced out when public
unrest over the nation's economic crisis unseated the government in
Sigurdardottir, the leader of the
Social Democrats, was named interim prime minister at first and
retained power in elections held in 2009.
Under her watch, Iceland
extended marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
The 2008 economic meltdown which took
down the former coalition government also crushed the nation's banks
and sent Iceland's unemployment rate skyrocketing. The island nation
has just begun to recover from the “crash.”
Sigurdardottir is married to
writer-playwright Jonina Leosdottir. She is the mother of two adult
sons from a previous marriage. She turns 70 next week.