Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir was named prime minister of Iceland on Feb 1, becoming the world’s first openly gay head of government in the modern era and her country’s first female prime minister. The 66-year-old former flight attendant had served as Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security since 2007, earning the highest public approval rating – 73 percent – of any cabinet member in a Dec 2008 poll by Capacent Gallup.
A native of Reykjavík, the capital city, Sigurdardóttir was first elected to the Althing, Iceland’s parliament, in 1978. She previously served as Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security from 1987 to 1994, when she lost her first serious bid to head her Social Democratic Party.
Sigurdardóttir arrived in office after a wave of protests sparked by the economic crisis forced the resignation of her predecessor.
She will serve as an interim leader until elections are held in May.
The mother of two sons from her previous marriage to a man, she and her partner, playwright and journalist Jónína Leósdóttir, were married in a civil ceremony in 2002.