Serbia made history on June 29 when its lawmakers elected 41-year-old Ana Brnabic as its Prime Minister. Brnabic is both Serbia’s first female and first openly gay premier, so it is a double victory for the country.

It was Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vucic, who nominated Brnabic for the position of Prime Minister. And the parliament voted 157-55 to elect her to the post. Though Brnabic’s induction to the post received much criticism and threats from hard-line nationalists, a progressive team of lawmakers made it happen.

Brnabic is a non-party technocrat but Vucic showed trust in her and announced on the same day that he is allowing her to form a new government as she is “hard-working, [with] professional and personal qualities,” the Serbian news agency B92 reported.

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Vucic had handpicked Brnabic to succeed him in the position of Prime Minister on April this year. He has now been elected as president of Serbia and will continue to be the country’s most powerful figure.

Brnabic is quite new to the political scene of Serbia as she joined politics only last year when she became the country’s first openly gay minister, heading the ministry for public administration and local self-government. She has studied in the US and graduated in Hull with a marketing MBA in 2001. She returned to Serbia to work in the wind power industry and then for USAID.

Criticism against Brnabic includes a two-day debate in which traditional lawmakers argued that her entry into politics is actually a result of western pressure. Brnabic paid no heed to her critics calling her a “western spy”.

“That is an insult for the Republic of Serbia and all its citizens,” Brnabic said, ABC News reported. “Do you think the Serbian state is so ridiculous that no security services would react?”

The country is preparing for EU membership while maintaining its close relationship with Russia and friendship with Beijing, so the coming few years are crucial in terms of Serbian politics, and Brnabic will take charge of its fate.

Picture credit- LGBTQ Nation