Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Iceland to appoint gay woman minister to PM post

By DAVID STRINGER -REYKJAVIK, Iceland – The woman expected to become Iceland's interim prime minister is an openly gay former flight attendant who rose through the political ranks to lead a new leftist government.

Johanna Sigurdardottir, the island nation's 66-year-old social affairs minister, is the pick of the Social Democratic Alliance Party to lead an interm government.

Iceland's conservative-led government failed Monday, after the country's banks collapsed in the fall under the weight of huge debts amassed during years of rapid economic growth. The country's currency has plummeted, while inflation and unemployment are soaring.

Sigurdardottir's appointment is expected to be confirmed within days by the new ruling coalition of the Alliance party and the Left-Green movement. She would lead Iceland until general elections, expected in May.

'She is a senior parliamentarian, she is respected and loved by all of Iceland,' said Environment Minister Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir, a fellow Alliance party member.

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