ANA Brnabić has become the first gay female prime minister of Serbia in a double first for the Balkan nation.

Her appointment is all the more salient given that homophobia is still prevalent in the Balkans.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić announced he was giving Brnabić the mandate to form a new government, describing her as a ‘hard-working professional’.

While he handpicked her to succeed him as prime minister following his election as president earlier this year, he’s expected to remain the most powerful figure in the country.

The news comes just days after Ireland formally elected Leo Varadkar as its first gay prime minister.

In a report by The Guardian, civil rights activist Goran Miletić said Brnabić’s appointment was all the more historic given Serbia’s track record on gay rights.

“Even in some Western countries it would be big news and a positive signal if a gay or lesbian person became prime minister or minister,” he said.

“It is even more important for a country where 65 per cent believe that homosexuality is an illness and 78 per cent think that homosexuality should not be expressed outside homes.

“The appointment of a lesbian can only be a positive message.”

While the role of prime minister is the most powerful constitutionally, president Vučić will likely retain his grip on power via his leadership of the ruling Serbian Progressive party.

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