An openly gay person has taken office as head of government for the first time.

Johanna Sigurdardottir was sworn in as interim Prime Minister.of Iceland yesterday.

She will head a coalition of socialists and Greens until a general election in May.

“We live in difficult times and need to restructure the Icelandic economy and adopt new values,” Ms Sigurdardottir said after she was sworn in.

“The new coalition will focus on restarting the economy and protecting the households.

“The new coalition will emphasise a responsible economic management and undertake many projects in a short period of time.”

The previous government was toppled by the financial crisis, which severely affected the Icelandic banking system.

The International Monetary Fund began a $2.1bn (£1.49bn) bailout programme in December to stop the nation of 320,000 people going bankrupt.

Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden are lending Iceland an additional $2.5bn.

In 2002 a gay man did act as prime minister of Norway, but only for a matter of hours. Ms Sigurdardottir is the first ever openly gay head of government.