Voters in Iceland have voted in their
first gay prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, in general
elections Saturday, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Sigurdardottir, an openly gay female
politician, took over the reins of Iceland's government as interim
prime minister on February 1 after Independent Party leadership was
ousted in January amid increasingly violent public demonstrations
that blamed the conservative Party for Iceland's economic ruin.
Iceland has been hard hit by the global
economic meltdown. 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
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, previously 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.
In Saturday's special election, voters
overwhelming rejected the conservative Independent Party that has
been in power for 18 years in favor of Siguroardottir's Social
Democrats and their partners, the Left-Greens. The two parties are
expected to gain a 3 seat majority in the 63-seat Parliament.
While the rest of the world looked on
in awe as a lesbian prepared to take over the reins of a country in
January, Icelanders appeared 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,” Frosti Jónsson,
chairman of Iceland's gay and lesbian association, told Time in
January. “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.”