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“I don’t know what’s more ridiculous – when it’s said that because of my different sexual orientation I’m not worthy of leading the Government or that I’ve been appointed to lead the Government precisely and only because of it,” were the words that Serbia’s Prime Minister unabashedly delivered at an international conference about hate crime and hate speech in Belgrade on Friday.
Ana Brnabić has been a close associate of Serbia’s President and Progressive Party leader Aleksandar Vučić, serving previously as Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government under Vučić as Prime Minister as of August 2016 and succeeding him as Prime Minister in June 2017, after Vučić was elected to the office of President. Many have called her unqualified for the role and she happens to be not only the first woman to hold the office in Serbia, but also the first openly gay Prime Minister in Eastern Europe.
During Pride Week in Belgrade, which will culminate with the Belgrade Pride Parade on September 17, Brnabić has shown support and took part in a panel to discuss hate speech and the position of minorities and the LGBT community in Serbia. According to Serbian news site Telegraf.rs, Brnabić expressed that, as a citizen of her country, she would like to live in a society in which the Pride Parade is news on the level of which city streets would be closed for traffic on a given day.
Minister of Justice Nela Kuburović sat on the same panel with the Prime Minister and emphasized that her Ministry views combating hate speech and hate crimes as priorities. Kuburović said there is a zero tolerance policy for hate speech in Serbia and, despite Serbia having good laws in place regarding hate speech and other hate crimes, there is still a significant number of criminal instances of hate speech and hate crimes, in particular targeted at the LGBT community.