Meet Iceland’s Johanna Sigurdardottir: The First Openly Gay Chief … Ever?

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America may have elected its first black president, but Iceland just named its first lesbian prime minister. And did we mention 66-year-old Johanna Sigurdardottir is a former flight attendant?

You might’ve heard that Iceland’s economic situation is even worse than our own. Their currency, the krona, is effectively worthless. Their economy went from hundreds of billions of dollars to zero almost overnight when the credit crisis hit the island nation’s three banks, forcing the government to take them over. And the generally peaceful population has taken to throwing eggs and toilet paper at government buildings, outraged their life savings have been wiped out and their loans — mostly set up in foreign currencies, back when the krona was strong — are now usurious. At times, crowds of 32,000 (10 percent of Iceland’s population) had gathered in Reykjavik as an angry mob.

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Caving to demands, the government, under Geir Haarde, stepped down on Monday. Enter Sigurdardottir, the center-left member of the Social Democratic Alliance and most recently Iceland’s social affairs minister, who will now serve as interim leader. She lives with wife Jonina Leosdottir (the married in 2002), has two sons from a previous marriage, and needs the quell a very angry country. Naturally, critics say she’s not fit for the job, and will lose in the upcoming May elections. But as it stands, Sigurdardottir’s popularity is skyrocketing.

Just like a certain new American president — who also has a nation’s economy to save.

[Times Online]