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Serbia has nominated its first openly gay prime minister

Serbia has nominated its first openly gay prime minister”

She entered politics in 2016 and became Serbia's first openly gay minister; not a small feat for a country in the region where a homophobic culture still prevails.

"I chose to propose Ana Brnabic as a prime minister-designate to the parliament of Serbia", President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters.

Brnabic's government needs formal approval by Serbia's parliament next week.

When Mr Vucic, who was then premier, brought her into government, Ms Brnabic said: "Hopefully this will blow over in three or four days, and then I won't be known as the gay minister".

In interviews since she became Serbia's first openly gay government minister previous year, Brnabic expressed hope that people would look beyond her sexual orientation.

The former extremist-turned-reformist President has promised to boost gay rights in an effort to move Serbia closer to European Union membership.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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'I believe she has professional skills and personal qualities, ' Vucic tells the Associated Press.

Mr Vucic said he hoped the new government would stick with his policy of not joining western sanctions against Russian Federation, and would strengthen "Serbia's positions on the global scene, in both the west and the east".

Serbia's infrastructure minister and member of the executive board of governing conservative Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), Zorana Mihajlovic, expressed confidence that Brnabic will continue the reforms initiated by the government of PM Vucic. "I'm convinced she will work hard".

The new 41-year-old prime minister was named "the businesswoman of the year" in Serbia.

Ana Brnabic was chosen by the new President, Aleksandar Vucic.

Last year, Brnabic hit the headlines for becoming the first openly gay minister in the highly conservative Serbia.

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Between 2002 and 2011, Brnabic worked for USAID and supported the establishment of the Serbian National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED) in 2006. To comply with the terms of its deal with the International Monetary Fund, which expires next year, Serbia must sell its remaining state companies, including loss-making copper producer RTB Bor and its petrochemical factories.

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