Iceland: World’s first openly gay prime minister quits politics

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General elections will be held in Iceland today, marking the end of the political career of the country’s prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, who stepped down from politics yesterday.

A member of the Social Democratic Alliance, Sigurdardottir was elected prime minister in 2009. She was the world’s first openly gay head of government.

She announced in September 2012 that she would not run for re-election, and that she would step down from politics after the end of her term.

During her time as prime minister she oversaw the legalisation of same-sex marriage  and was one of the first Icelanders to make use of the law, marrying her long-term partner Leosdottir in 2010.

The director and representatives of Samtokin ’78, an Icelandic LGBT organisation, gathered today to present Sigurdardottir with a rainbow bouquet of flowers to acknowledge her work for gay rights.

Iceland’s longest-serving member of parliament, she was first elected to the Althing in 1978 as a Social Democrat MP.

Earlier this month Sigurdardottir and her wife were asked to meet with members of PFLAG China (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in Beijing during a visit to China.