Serbia is Getting Its First Lesbian Prime Minister (But Is She A Political Puppet?)
Serbian Primier-nominee Ana Brnabic
The new Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, was nominated and placed into office this past May. In that time, he has made some decisions that many people don’t like. One of them, was to nominate Ana Brnabic (pronounced BER-NAH-BEECH) as his prime minister.
If approved, which is a formality as their party is the majority in Serbia’s current legislature (The National Assembly), Brnabic will be the first ever female and LGBTQ prime minister (or premier as they call it).
But, that fact alone is the only good thing coming out of the announcement, as many people are deeply upset by the nomination.
The reason being, it seems that Brnabic is just a political tool.
For those who don’t know how Serbian politics work, Vucic is the president which is a position elected by popular vote. That said, the position of the president is mostly ceremonial and holds no real political power.
It’s the prime minister that truly runs the executive branch. They pick the cabinet officials and interact with the National Assembly.
Many believe that President Vucic wants to shift Serbia’s political power completely to the presidency. As such, they think he nominated Brnabic as someone he can easily control.
Political expert Milan Nic spoke to the New York Times about Brnabic’s nomination:
“She is capable and smart, but she will be a weak prime minister,” Mr. Nic said. “Vucic is a strong leader who only needs someone to administer the government for him rather than lead it.”
But, of course, President Vucic denies all these claims and states that he picked Brnabic because he truly believes in her as a political leader for the country.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic
“Ana Brnabic is a capable woman, a worthy woman,” he said to Serbian state TV, “The woman has her own brain. She is doing her job and wants to cooperate with me and with everyone in the government.”
Brnabic even explained herself in a speech to Parliament that she is above all the noise that has come out after her nomination.
“I will respond with truths and facts that I will defend with dignity. I have big goals as I look to the future,” she said. “Let’s put the past together where it belongs — to the past.”
But possibly the most important thing to note is that while it was blatantly mentioned that she is a lesbian woman, both Vucic and Brnabic have stated that she has no interest in LGBTQ issues.
“I’m not a spokesperson for the LGBT community,” Brnabic said in an interview with Vice Serbia, “I don’t want to be branded as a gay minister, just as my colleagues don’t want to be primarily defined as being straight,” she added. “All I want is to do my job as best as I can.”
In fact, Brnabic goes blatantly out of her way to not touch LGBTQ politics.
Serbian Primier-nominee Ana Brnabic
For instance, last year there was a push to legalize same-sex marriage and Brnabic declined to help saying it was not the right time for such talks.
Zoe Gudovic, a 40-year-old social justice activist in Serbia spoke to the New York Times and said, “The only thing I share with Ana Brnabic is that we are both lesbians. I give her credit for shattering the deeply rooted notion of how a woman in the highest position of government should look like, what she should wear, and how she should behave in this homophobic society.”
Yet, Gudovic had to admit, “I find it impossible to accept that she is willing to be part of the nationalist, authoritarian regime that will ruin our economy, sell our country to foreigners, and abolish whatever is left of a social state.”
So, with all this talk of a lesbian primier its funny that she in fact doesn’t push for LGBTQ politics. That then brings back the idea that she may just be a political tool for Vuvic to use.
As Dragan Popovic, a political analyst, said:
“He’s trying to play both sides, saying to the West: ‘Look what I have to suffer for being progressive. You have to support me.’ At the same time, he’s signaling to the Russians not to worry.”