Rome : An openly homosexual politician in Italy has announced his candidacy for prime ministership in the elections to be held in 2013, in what could pave the way for the European Union's first gay premier.
Nichi Vendola, governor of the southern Puglia region and leader of the Sel party, that stands for "Left and Free", announced his candidacy Wednesday.
Vendola may face three-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned in November amid a deepening debt crisis and sex charges.
"It's time for change," Vendola said.
The openly gay man, who wears an earring and speaks with a lisp, could be the first Italian homosexual prime minister, to guide the country out of the shadow of the Vatican, the powerful conservative religious institution which considers homosexuality a sin.