Serbia rarely makes breaking news in international media these days, but last week was an exception. On Wednesday (15 June), its former prime minister and now newly elected president, Aleksandar Vucic, appointed Ana Brnabic, a 41-year-old financial consultant, as the next prime minister. Brnabic hit the headlines because she’s openly gay, which immediately triggered the debate about how much Serbia has changed since the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
The appointment came as a surprise to the rest of the world, but not so much within Serbia: Brnabic already had a position in Vucic’s cabinet, where she had served as minister for public and local administration and achieved some success in modernising Serbia’s cumbersome bureaucracy.
Western-educated, smart, and clearly pro-European, she kept a low profile while projecting an aura of quiet efficiency. She is distinctly non-partisan and was brought in to the government as an expert. Her name had been circulated as a possible successor to Vucic for several weeks, although most people believed that the job would go to acting foreign minister Ivica Dacic, an apparatchik.
When she first entered the cabinet in August last year, Brnabic caused mild curiosity rather than outrage. She never hid her sexual orientation, but liked to stress that she is not an activist. Read more via EU Observer