Головне на ранок: СБУ розслідує справу про підготовку перевороту, COVID-19 далі йде на спад, ВООЗ попереджає про ризик нового штаму

Новини, про які варто знати

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Blinken in Latvia for NATO Security Talks

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Latvia Tuesday for talks with the country’s leaders and a NATO ministerial meeting as the alliance expresses concern about Russia’s military buildup along the border with Ukraine.

Blinken’s schedule in Riga includes sessions with Latvian President Egils Levits, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins and Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics. He is also due to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the ministerial talks later in the day.

Levits told reporters after his own talks with Stoltenberg on Monday that Russia’s military presence represents direct pressure on Ukraine, and that NATO “will remain in solidarity with Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg called on Russia to reduce tensions in the region, saying the military buildup is “unprovoked and unexplained.”

“Any future Russian aggression against Ukraine would come at a high price and have serious political and economic consequences for Russia,” Stoltenberg said.

A main focus of work at the NATO ministerial meeting is updating what the group calls its Strategic Concept, which was last changed a decade ago.

Stoltenberg said it is important to revisit the strategic document given the changed nature of the threats NATO faces, what he called a “more dangerous world.”

“We see the behavior of Russia, we see cyber, we see terrorist threats, we see proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Stoltenberg said. “And we see the security consequences of China which is now becoming more and more a global power.”

The talks in Riga also come as NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland deal with a border crisis with neighboring Belarus.

The European Union accuses Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of enticing thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East, to travel to Belarus and try to cross into Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in order to destabilize the European Union. The EU says Lukashenko is retaliating for sanctions it imposed against his government.

Blinken is scheduled to travel Wednesday to Sweden to meet with fellow ministers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and to discuss bilateral ties with Swedish officials.

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Доба на Донбасі: 2 поранених військових та 8 порушень режиму припинення вогню

Бойовики на своїх ресурсах пишуть про три порушення «тиші»

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Belarus Migrant Crisis Divides Polish Society

Thousands of migrants continue to wait in Belarus to enter the European Union through Poland, a crisis in the central European country that has sharply divided its society between those who want to assist migrants and those who refuse to open their borders. Elizabeth Cherneff narrates this report from Ricardo Marquina in Warsaw.

Camera: Ricardo Marquina

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Turkey’s Economic Turmoil Threatens to Stoke Refugee Tensions

Last week’s 10% drop in the value of the Turkish currency plunged it to historic lows, threatening an economic crisis. The Turkish lira has dropped 45 percent this year, prompting concerns that economic turmoil could further raise tensions over the presence of millions of refugees. For VOA, Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.

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У засудженого у справі «українських диверсантів» Дудки суттєво погіршився стан здоров’я – омбудсмен

За словами Людмили Денісової, рідні можуть передавати Володимиру Дудці життєво необхідні ліки лише раз на кілька місяців

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Вітренко: Росія не веде переговорів про продовження транзиту газу після 2024 року

«Немає нічого, навіть натяку, ніяких офіційних чи неофіційних переговорів (із Росією)», – сказав очільник «Нафтогазу»

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West Struggles to Counter Secessionist Threat in Bosnia

Western analysts say Bosnia-Herzegovina is facing its greatest crisis since the Dayton Accords ended a war there in 1995, with many suspecting Russian and Chinese hands in what could be the unraveling of the pact that has provided 25 years of uneasy peace. 

The U.S.-brokered accords divided the Balkan country into a Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and a region known as the Federation, dominated by Bosniaks and Croats. All three ethnic groups are represented in a tripartite presidency.  

But Milorad Dodik, the Serb representative in the presidency, has in recent weeks started the process of withdrawal from state-level institutions and is threatening outright secession by Republika Srpska.   

Such moves, including the plan for unilateral transfer to Republika Srpska of such functions as taxation and military forces, are a clear violation of the Dayton Accords in the eyes of several current and former diplomats, U.S. officials and analysts interviewed by VOA. Many fear the actions not only threaten to undo many post-war achievements, but also create the potential for new conflicts and a partition of the country.  

“Bosnia-Herzegovina as a country has been able to sort of muddle through from one crisis to the next and still remain at least a semi-functional democracy. My concern is that Dodik is simply pushing things too far this time,” said Bruce Berton, a U.S. diplomat who headed the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina between 2015 and 2019. 

Berton also was deputy chief at the Office of the High Representative (OHR), an international entity established to oversee the implementation of the Dayton Accords.  

While Dodik claims he is reclaiming functions taken from Republika Srpska without its consent, many were approved by the state parliament with the participation of Republika Srpska parties.  

“It seems a bit schizophrenic behavior,” said Paul McCarthy, Europe division director at the International Republican Institute, who pointed out that Dodik’s own party of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) supported some of those decisions.   

While there is some resistance to Dodik’s moves by opposition parties in Republika Srpska, McCarthy said he believes the latest moves have been encouraged from Moscow.

“This is a low-cost way for Russia to sow dissension and to undermine the West, the EU and Washington’s position in the Western Balkans,” he said.

Several VOA interviewees said China and Serbia also stand to benefit from the crisis and worry that even Hungary – an EU member – is backing Dodik.  

Toby Vogel, a senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council, a Berlin think tank, sees the events in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the context of deteriorating relations between NATO and Russia and other regional escalations between Serbia and Kosovo and in Montenegro.  

“I have a hard time believing that these are just sort of a spontaneous manifestation of local grievances, Vogel said.  

Daniel Serwer, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, warns about the “Serbian World” idea, floated recently by Serbian politicians. For Serwer, that is just a different name for the nationalistic concept of a “Greater Serbia,” in which all territories where Serbs live would become a single country. 

“That means the destruction of several states in the Balkans, it means war, it means death, it means refugees. And Western states shouldn’t want that,” he said.

Cooperation of China, Russia  

In July, the U.N. Security Council rejected a resolution put forward by Russia and China to close the OHR. The two countries claimed that the appointment of German politician Christian Schmidt as a High Representative was not valid as it was not confirmed by the Security Council.   

Schmidt was appointed in May by the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), an international body that provides the High Representative with political guidance. Only Russia opposed the decision. The Security Council discussed the matter but did not vote to confirm Schmidt after the United States and other countries maintained that was not necessary.  

Now Moscow, like Dodik, refuses to recognize Schmidt as the High Representative.   

Analysts had feared that Russia and China, in retaliation, might veto the renewal of the international military mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, known as EUFOR, which has helped to maintain the peace there. The Security Council did in fact approve the European Military Force (EUFOR) mandate on November 3, but only after other countries caved in to a demand by Russia and China that Schmidt not present an expected report on Bosnia-Herzegovina during that session.  

In that report, Schmidt had written that Bosnia-Herzegovina “faces the greatest existential threat of the postwar period” and that Republika Srpska authorities, led by Dodik, “endanger not only the peace and stability of the country and the region, but – if unanswered by the international community – could lead to the undoing of the [Dayton] Agreement itself.”  

Many Western analysts were outraged at what they saw as a sign of weakness by the West. 

“It is absolutely appalling that [Schmidt] was not permitted to speak. It damages the OHR,” said Tanya Domi, a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, who used to work for the OSCE mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  

Berton, the former deputy High Representative, said China and Russia have different goals in seeking to weaken the Dayton Accords. For China, he said, Bosnia-Herzegovina is part of its larger plan to expand its influence in the world, primarily through economic efforts such as its “Belt and Road Initiative.”

Russia, he said, “has been a sort of malign influence in the country and in the region. I think they want to poke a sharp stick into the eyes of the West, especially as Bosnia-Herzegovina and other countries in the region move closer to the EU and to NATO.”  

What will US, EU do?  

Most of the VOA interviewees agreed that a greater U.S. involvement on Western Balkans issues is key to decreasing tensions, especially since EU enlargement – once a primary motivation for keeping peace and implementing reforms — has pretty much ground to a halt.    

Several U.S. diplomats have recently visited Bosnia-Herzegovina, including Gabriel Escobar, the State Department’s special representative for the Western Balkans, and Derek Chollet, the department’s senior policy adviser. They confirmed U.S. support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina and criticized Dodik’s unilateral actions.  

Still, some analysts fear the U.S. is too focused on electoral and economic reforms while there is a much greater threat to Bosnia-Herzegovina.  

Domi, the Columbia University professor, said she doesn’t think the West is taking Dodik’s actions seriously: “What I’m deeply troubled by is that everybody just seems to think, ‘Oh well, we’ll turn these words around and we’re going to reverse the situation.’ And it’s clear that Mr. Dodik is doubling down.” 

Vogel said destructive behavior has been allowed for some time.  

“Neither the U.S. nor the EU have been pushing back against increasingly escalating attacks on the unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina over the last several years,” he said. 

Escobar repeatedly said the U.S. plans to “aggressively use” sanctions against Bosnian politicians, but no concrete actions have yet been taken. In 2017, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Dodik for obstructing the Dayton Accords, but the EU never followed suit. Some countries like Germany are now considering their own sanctions. 

Amra Alirejsovic and Ajdin Muratovic from VOA’s Bosnian Service contributed to this report.

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Кулеба: Київ надасть партнерам дані щодо підготовки потенційного перевороту в Україні

26 листопада президент України на пресмарафоні заявив, що має інформацію про підготовку на 1-2 грудня за участю «представників Росії» спроби державного перевороту в Україні

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Грузія: суд у справі Саакашвілі відклали до 23 грудня

«Всі знають, що я не повинен сидіти у в’язниці, тому що всі звинувачення проти мене сфабриковані та політично мотивовані», – сказав Саакашвілі в суді

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In French Pantheon, Josephine Baker Makes History Yet Again

France is inducting Josephine Baker — Missouri-born cabaret dancer, French World War II spy and civil rights activist — into its Pantheon, the first Black woman honored in the final resting place of France’s most revered luminaries.

On Tuesday, a coffin carrying soils from the U.S., France and Monaco — places where Baker made her mark — will be deposited inside the domed Pantheon monument overlooking the Left Bank of Paris. Her body will stay in Monaco, at the request of her family.

French President Emmanuel Macron decided on her entry into the Pantheon, responding to a petition. In addition to honoring an exceptional figure in French history, the move is meant to send a message against racism and celebrate U.S.-French connections.

“She embodies, before anything, women’s freedom,” Laurent Kupferman, the author of the petition for the move, told The Associated Press.

Baker was born in 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri. At 19, having already divorced twice, had relationships with men and women, and started a performing career, she moved to France following a job opportunity.

“She arrives in France in 1925, she’s an emancipated woman, taking her life in her hands, in a country of which she doesn’t even speak the language,” Kupferman said. 

She met immediate success on the Theatre des Champs-Elysees stage, where she appeared topless and wearing a famed banana belt. Her show, embodying the colonial time’s racist stereotypes about African women, caused both condemnation and celebration.

“She was that kind of fantasy: not the Black body of an American woman but of an African woman,” Theatre des Champs-Elysees spokesperson Ophélie Lachaux told the AP. “And that’s why they asked Josephine to dance something ‘tribal,’ ‘savage,’ ‘African’-like.” 

Baker’s career took a more serious turn after that, as she learned to speak five languages and toured internationally. She became a French citizen after her marriage in 1937 to industrialist Jean Lion, a Jewish man who later suffered from anti-Semitic laws of the collaborationist Vichy regime.

In September 1939, as France and Britain declared war against Nazi Germany, Baker got in touch with the head of the French counterintelligence services. She started working as an informant, traveling, getting close to officials and sharing information hidden on her music sheets, according to French military archives.

Researcher and historian Géraud Létang said Baker lived “a double life between, on the one side, the music hall artist, and on the other side, another secret life, later becoming completely illegal, of intelligence agent.” 

After France’s defeat in June 1940, she refused to play for the Nazis who occupied Paris and moved to southwestern France. She continued to work for the French Resistance, using her artistic performances as a cover for her spying activities.

That year, she notably brought into her troupe several spies working for the Allies, allowing them to travel to Spain and Portugal. “She risks the death penalty or, at least, the harsh repression of the Vichy regime or of the Nazi occupant,” Letang said.

The next year, seriously ill, Baker left France for North Africa, where she gathered intelligence for Gen. Charles De Gaulle, including spying on the British and the Americans — who didn’t fully trust him and didn’t share all information.

She also raised funds, including from her personal money. It is estimated she brought the equivalent of 10 million euros ($11.2 million) to support the French Resistance. 

In 1944, Baker joined a female group in the Air Force of the French Liberation Army as a second lieutenant. The group’s logbook notably mentions a 1944 incident off the coast of Corsica, when Senegalese soldiers from colonial troops fighting in the French Liberation Army helped Baker out of the sea. After her plane had to make an emergency landing, they brought “the shipwrecked to the shores, on their large shoulders, Josephine Baker in the front,” the logbook writes. 

Baker also organized concerts for soldiers and civilians near combat zones. After the defeat of the Nazis, she went to Germany to sing for former prisoners and deportees freed from the camps. 

“Baker’s involvement in politics was individual and atypical,” said Benetta Jules-Rosette, a leading scholar on Baker’s life and a sociology professor at the University of California, San Diego. 

After the war, Baker got involved in anti-racist politics. She fought against American segregation during a 1951 performance tour of the U.S., causing her to be targeted by the FBI, labeled a communist and banned from her homeland for a decade. The ban was lifted by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and she returned to be the only woman to speak at the March on Washington, before Martin Luther King’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech.

Back in France, she adopted 12 children from all over the world, creating a “rainbow tribe” to embody her ideal of “universal fraternity.” She purchased a castle and land in the southwestern French town of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, where she tried to build a city embodying her values.

“My mother saw the success of the rainbow tribe, because when we caused trouble as kids, she would never know who had done it because we never ratted on each other, risking collective punishment,” one of Baker’s sons, Brian Bouillon Baker, told the AP. “I heard her say to some friends ‘I’m mad to never know who causes trouble, but I’m happy and proud that my kids stand united.’”

Toward the end of her life, she ran into financial trouble, was evicted and lost her properties. She received support from Princess Grace of Monaco, who offered Baker a place for her and her children to live.

She rebuilt her career but in 1975, four days after the triumphant opening of a comeback tour, she fell into a coma and passed away from a brain hemorrhage. She was buried in Monaco.

While Baker is widely appreciated in France, some critics of Macron question why he chose an American-born figure as the first Black woman in the Pantheon, instead of someone who rose up against racism and colonialism in France itself. 

The Pantheon, built at the end of the 18th century, honors 72 men and five women, including Baker. She joins two other Black figures in the mausoleum: Gaullist resister Felix Eboué and famed writer Alexandre Dumas.

“These are people who have committed themselves, especially to others,” Pantheon administrator David Medec told the AP. “It is not only excellence in a field of competence, it is really the question of commitment, commitment to others.”

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Russia Says Latest Zircon Hypersonic Missile Test Successful

Russia said Monday it had carried out another successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, as world powers race to develop the advanced weaponry.

Russia, the United States, France and China have all been experimenting with so-called hypersonic glide vehicles — defined as reaching speeds of at least Mach 5.

As part of “the completion of tests” of Russia’s hypersonic missile weapons, the Admiral Gorshkov warship launched a Zircon missile at a target in the Barents Sea at a range of 400 kilometers, the defense ministry said.

“The target was hit,” the ministry said, describing the test as successful.

The missile has undergone several recent tests, with Russia planning to equip both warships and submarines with the Zircon.

Putin revealed the development of the new weapon in a state of the nation address in February 2019, saying it could hit targets at sea and on land with a range of 1,000 kilometers and a speed of Mach 9.

Russia’s latest Zircon test came after Western reports that a Chinese hypersonic glider test flight in July culminated in the mid-flight firing of a missile at more than five times the speed of sound over the South China Sea.

Up until the test, none of the top powers had displayed comparable mastery of a mid-flight missile launch.

China denied the report, saying it was a routine test of a reusable space vehicle.

Russia has boasted of developing several weapons that circumvent existing defense systems, including the Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

Western experts have linked a deadly blast at a test site in northern Russia in 2019 — which caused a sharp spike in local radiation levels — to the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile.

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Керівництво ВР просить депутатів про культуру поведінки під час виступу Зеленського з посланням

Згідно з Конституцією України, президент щороку звертається до Верховної Ради із посланням

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Депутати мають право звернутися до КСУ про перенесення виборів у Раду – Стефанчук

26 листопада президент Володимир Зеленський під час пресмарафону висловив думку, що народні депутати, якщо захочуть, можуть звернутися до Конституційного суду України щодо тлумачення можливості зміни черговості президентських і парламентських виборів

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Talks on Iran Nuclear Deal Resuming in Vienna

Talks about reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resume Monday in Vienna after a five-month break and for the first time since a new president took office in Iran.

Like six previous rounds of negotiations, which began in April, the United States is participating indirectly, similar to the 2015 deal, which was known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran will talk directly with the remaining signatories of the 2015 deal — Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany — with European diplomats shuttling back and forth to consult with the U.S. side. 

At stake is the resumption of the agreement that brought limits to Iran’s nuclear program lasting between 10 and 15 years in exchange for sanctions relief.

The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 during the administration of President Donald Trump, after which Iran began stepping away from its commitments.

To date, Iran has exceeded its agreed limits on the amount of uranium it stockpiles, enriched uranium to higher levels and utilized more advanced centrifuges in its nuclear facilities.

The original agreement came in response to fears that Iran was working to develop nuclear weapons, which Iran has denied, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes such as research and generating power.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Taiwan, Europe Must Defend Democracy Together, President Says

Taiwan and Europe must work together to defend against authoritarianism and disinformation, President Tsai Ing-wen told visiting lawmakers from the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Monday.

Lithuania has faced sustained pressure from China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, since allowing the opening of a de facto Taiwanese embassy in its capital.

Beijing has ramped up military and diplomatic pressure on Taipei to accept Chinese sovereignty claims and to limit its international participation, though Tsai says Taiwan will not bow to threats and will defend its freedom and democracy.

Tsai told the lawmakers at the Presidential Office that Taiwan and the Baltic nations – once part of the Soviet Union – share similar experiences of breaking free from authoritarian rule and of fighting for freedom.

“The democracy we enjoy today was hard earned. This is something we all understand most profoundly,” she said.

“Now the world faces challenges posed by the expansion of authoritarianism and threat of disinformation. Taiwan is more than willing to share its experience at combating disinformation with its European friends. We must safeguard our shared values to ensure our free and democratic way of life.”

Matas Maldeikis, leader of the Lithuanian parliament’s Taiwan Friendship Group, told Tsai in response their group was in Taipei to express their solidarity with the island.

“Lithuanian government policy towards Taiwan has wide support in our society.

Preserving freedom and the rules-based international order is in the vital interests for both Taiwan and Lithuania,” he said.

There is much opportunity for economic and cultural cooperation, added Maldeikis, whose trip has been condemned by China.

No European Union member state has official ties with Taiwan.

The United States has strongly backed its NATO ally Lithuania in its spat with China.

Lithuania faces problems too with pressure from Russia and Belarus, with migrants on its border with Belarus.

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Louis Vuitton Star Designer Virgil Abloh Dies After Battle With Cancer

Virgil Abloh, fashion’s highest profile Black designer and the creative mind behind Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections, died on Sunday of cancer, Vuitton’s owner LVMH said.

The French luxury goods giant said Abloh, 41, had been battling cancer privately for years.

“Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” LVMH’s billionaire boss Bernard Arnault said in a statement.

Abloh, a U.S. national who also worked as a DJ and visual artist, had been men’s artistic director for Vuitton, the world’s biggest luxury brand, since March 2018.

His arrival at LVMH marked the marriage between streetwear and high-end fashion, mixing sneakers and camouflage pants with tailored suits and evening gowns. His influences included graffiti art, hip hop and skateboard culture.

The style was embraced by the group as it sought to breathe new life into some labels and attract younger customers.

In July this year, LVMH expanded his role, giving him a mandate to launch new brands and partner with existing ones in a variety of sectors beyond fashion.

LVMH also bought a 60% stake in Abloh’s Off-White label, which it folded into the spirits-to-jewelry conglomerate.

“For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma,” a message posted to his Instagram said. “He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture.”

Abloh drew on messages of inclusivity and gender-fluidity to expand the Louis Vuitton label’s popularity, weaving themes of racial identity into his fashion shows with poetry performances and art installations.

With an eye to reaching Asian consumers grounded by the coronavirus pandemic, the designer sent his collections of colorful suits and utilitarian-flavored outerwear off to Shanghai last summer, when many labels canceled fashion shows.

“Virgil Abloh was the essence of modern creativity,” said an Instagram post by Alexandre Arnault, one of Bernard Arnault’s sons and executive vice president for product and communications at U.S. jeweler Tiffany, which LVMH bought this year.

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Генеральний секретар НАТО закликав Росію до деескалації ситуації поблизу кордонів України

Північноатлантичний альянс стурбований посиленням присутності російських військ біля кордонів з Україною

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ДБР заявляє, що не відкривало «справу» проти Бутусова

Державне бюро закликає не втягувати відомство у політичні обвинувачення

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Katrin Jakobsdottir, Iceland’s Staunch Feminist PM, Begins Second Term

Katrin Jakobsdottir, a popular and fervent feminist who has become a unifying force after years of political upheaval, on Sunday kicked off her second term as prime minister of Iceland.

The country’s three coalition parties agreed that the 45-year-old former journalist would remain premier, a post she has held since 2017, despite her Left-Green Movement’s weak showing in September’s legislative election.

That mere fact illustrates Jakobsdottir’s pivotal role in the unusually broad coalition, made up of her Left-Greens, the conservative Independence Party and the center-right Progressive Party.

The unlikely alliance has been hard for some in her party to accept.

“I know I’ve been criticized for it, but when I look back, I think this government has done a good job and I think it has really shown what is possible in politics,” she told AFP in a recent interview.

Jakobsdottir has won over Icelanders with her integrity, sincerity and consensual management style.

Almost 60% said they wanted her to stay on as prime minister, in a poll published in October, even though her party won only 12.6% of votes at the ballot box.

A former education minister, from 2009 to 2013, she has remained down-to-Earth and avoided scandal during her years in power, earning the people’s trust, according to analysts.

“Katrin Jakobsdottir is a very skilled politician (who) has more of a consensus style than confrontational style,” notes University of Iceland political science professor Olafur Hardarson.

This is only the second time since 2008 that a government made it to the end of its four-year mandate on the sprawling island of 370,000 people.

Deep public distrust of politicians amid repeated scandals sent Icelanders to the polls five times from 2007 to 2017.

However, holding onto power has come at a high price, with Jakobsdottir forced to make concessions on key issues like immigration and the environment during her first term.

She had to back down from a promise to create a national park in the center of the country, to protest a natural national treasure, after her two allies refused to support the legislation.

Born into a family of academics and lawmakers, Jakobsdottir is the second woman to head Iceland’s government.

Her concern for the environment was awakened in the 2000s by a controversial project to build a hydroelectric dam in eastern Iceland.

“I wouldn’t say I was the most radical activist in town, but, yes, I began my political participation through demonstrations,” she told U.S. magazine The Nation in 2018.

She joined the youth wing of the Left Green Movement in 2002, before becoming deputy leader a year later. She has been the head of the party since 2013.

The slender, athletic politician has been a member of parliament for 14 years.

A huge football fan, she has rooted for Liverpool FC since she was a child.

That makes for a sometimes-tense atmosphere in her Reykjavik apartment, where her husband and three sons are all Manchester United supporters.

“I clearly didn’t raise my children well enough,” she joked on a radio show earlier this year, blaming her husband who has spent more time with their children due to her hectic schedule.

In a country that champions gender equality, she has made women’s causes a priority. Among other things, she has extended parental leave.

Her friends are meanwhile quick to point out her funny side. 

“With her sense of humor and jokes she can put a room at ease,” says former party member Rosa Bjork Brynjolfsdottir, who studied with her at university.

With a degree in Icelandic and French studies and a Masters in Icelandic literature, Jakobsdottir is a fan of crime novels and fiction, finding time to read almost every day. 

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