Johanna Sigurdardottir

Iceland’s Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, the world’s first openly gay leader of a country, has stepped down after four years.

The 70-year-old Social Democratic Alliance leader came into office on 1 February 2009, and led the first left-wing government in the country after almost eighteen years of conservative Independence Party domination.

She was sworn into office following the dissolution of the previous government due to protests over its handling of the collapse of the country’s banking system.

Ahead of this weekend’s elections, Sigurdardottir – who was also the longest serving member of parliament – announced that she was retiring from politics and would not stand for re-election.

On Friday, the Icelandic lesbian and gay organisation, Samtökin ’78, presented Sigurdardottir with a rainbow-flower-bouquet to mark her historic achievement for LGBT people around the world.

Results from the polls on Sunday indicated that Sigurdardottir’s party has lost the election and that the country’s centre-right opposition will return to power.

On Sunday, Bjarni Benediktsson, the leader of Iceland’s conservative Independence Party, claimed the post of prime minister.

Sigurdardottir has been in a civil partnership since June 2002 with her partner, the Icelandic author, playwright and journalist Jónína Leósdóttir .

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