Johanna Siguroardottir, an openly gay
female politician, will take over the reins of Iceland's government
as interim prime minister on Saturday.
Siguroardottir has accepted the post of
interim prime minister of Iceland until a May election, reports The
She is a well-liked politician and is
expected to remain in power.
But the appointment is bittersweet for
Siguroardottir who will be faced with mounting domestic problems.
All of Iceland's banks have collapsed, unemployment looks likely to surpass 10% this year in a country used to 1% unemployment, and its currency, the krona, continues to plummet.
Siguroardottir's government profile
includes personal details about her life, including her marriage to
writer and playwright Jonina Leosdottir. She is the mother of two
adult sons from a previous marriage.
Siguroardottir, the country's Social
Affairs Minister, has a storied background of middle-class mom goes
to Reykjavik and does good. Free from familial political
connections, she is seen as a trusted ally of the people, a fact born
out in her whopping 73% approval rating, making her the most popular
minister in the country.
Her consideration is the result of the
collapse of Iceland's coalition government. Prime Minister Geir
Haarde, head of the Independence Party, stepped down on Monday amid
violent demonstrations over an economy in a tailspin that has
decimated the standard of living for the average Icelander. Haarde,
who is fighting cancer, said he would not participate in the new
Siguroardottir's Social Democratic
Alliance Party will share power with the Left-Greens.
“She's a good choice,” Björn
Björnsson, 26, told
Time. “She's one of our most experienced politicians and
through this crisis she has shown nothing but integrity and concern
for the public. Iceland needs someone we can trust again, and she's
earned my trust.”
While the rest of world looks on in awe
as a lesbian prepares to take over the reins of a country, Icelanders
appear nonchalant about her personal life. The fight for gay and
lesbian equality in Iceland is all but won. The tiny country (pop.
32,000) established civil unions, which include provisions for
adoption, for gay and lesbian couples in 1996.
“Being gay is not an issue in
Iceland,” says Frosti Jónsson,
chairman of Iceland's gay and lesbian association. “There are so
many openly gay prominent figures in the public and private sector
here that it doesn't affect who we select for our highest offices.
Our minds are focused on what counts, which is the current situation
in the country.”