World’s First Gay President?

Mayoral incumbent Betrand Delanoe will easily win relection in Paris next week and now his party appears to be grooming him to run for president of France.

Since becoming mayor Delanoe has been hugely popular, particularly with the poor and middle classes. Public opinion polls put him well ahead of the opposition going into the municipal elections on March 9 and 16. But his popularity also is high outside Paris and some in the Socialist Party see him as their strongest hope for defeating President Nicolas Sarkozy in the next election – scheduled for 2012.

Leading party members say Delanoe could unite the party after divisions allowed Sakozy to sweep to victory last May. Since then his approval ratings have plummeted and Socialites see an opening. A landslide in the city election “would give him a tremendous amount of credibility,” said Frederic Daby, director of public opinion surveys at pollsters Ifop. “He would appear as the only Socialist leader with momentum.”

The linked news story says that Delanoe would be the “first openly gay head of a major country.” What minor country had an openly gay leader?