Progressive

Ana Brnabic slated to become Serbia’s first openly gay prime minister

Serbian Public Administration Minister Ana Brnabic (C) has been nominated to become Serbia's new prime minister (ALEXA STANKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Ana Brnabic, a U.S.- and U.K.-educated technocrat who heads Serbia’s Public Administration Ministry, is expected to become the first openly gay women in Eastern Europe to be named prime minister after her nomination by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. A relative political neophyte, Brnabic had previously worked for U.S.-backed NGOs and in wind farm development.

According to analysts, Brnabic’s nomination signaled Vucic’s desire to push forward the country’s bid to join the European Union without inciting the wrath of near-neighbor Russia. Some critics have also alleged that Vuvic was planning to use Brnabic to shift power from the premiership to the presidency so that he could control the country from behind the scenes.

In comments made to the press on Thursday, Vucic acknowledged the debate over his choice for the premiership, telling reporters that Vucic had “all the qualities required for the job” and that she would “improve Serbia’s standing both in the West and East” while working to carry out “difficult reforms.”

“Some say I chose a puppet,” Vucic added. “I don’t care what they say. I care what the citizens of Serbia say.”

If Brnabic’s position is confirmed by parliament — a relative certainty due to the Progressive Party’s majority in the assembly — she would have to overhaul the country’s legal system, restructure an economy burdened by hundreds of unprofitable state-owned companies, and lead talks to normalize relations with Kosovo before the country could be considered for E.U. membership. Speaking after her nomination, Brnabic pledged to work “with dedication toward the goal of making Serbia a modern state.”

Complicating matters, however, will be Vuvic’s desire to maintain strong ties with Russia and his pledge to never acknowledge Kosovo’s independence. Nearby Balkan neighbors have also accused Serbia of supporting pro-Russian forces in an attempt to prevent them from joining the E.U.

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

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