BELGIUM: Gay Prime Minister Sworn In
Elio Di Rupo, the openly gay head of Belgium's Socialist Party, took the oath of office yesterday before King Albert II. Di Rupo becomes the world's second openly gay head of government after Iceland's Johanna Sigurdardottir.
In a ceremony at the ornate royal palace, the son of Italian immigrants completed a remarkable personal journey that took him from an impoverished childhood in Belgium's rustbelt south to become the leader of Belgium. Amid small talk and jokes with King Albert II, the 13 ministers and 6 state secretaries took the oath, much to the relief of the nation of 6.5 million Dutch speakers and 4.5 million French speakers frustrated with lawmakers' inability to form a government over linguistic differences.Di Rupo is Belgium's first French-speaking leader in 40 years. He has vowed to learn Dutch.