BELGRADE, Serbia — Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak will be getting a Serbian passport, Serbia’s president announced Wednesday.
The convivial Wozniak, who teamed up with the late Steve Jobs to found Apple in 1976, arrived in Serbia ahead of Dec. 17 parliamentary and local elections, in an apparent boost for President Aleksandar Vučić and his populist right-wing governing party.
Wozniak said he feels “so lucky” to be in Serbia and that he and his wife Janet, who is also getting a passport, will from now on “promote” Serbia. He said he will become a Serb living in the U.S.
Vučić said at a joint news conference in Belgrade that “it is an honor” for Serbia to deliver the passports to Wozniak and his wife.
“Now we can proudly say that a computer genius is a Serb," Vučić said.
Wozniak’s visit, which was announced on Tuesday, was met with disapproval from opposition parties, which accused the government or ruling party of paying Wozniak to make PR appearances.
"No one paid him to come to Serbia, to be completely clear,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić said.
Wozniak said he was invited to visit by former top Serbian tennis player Janko Tipsarević, a prominent member of Vučić's Serbian Progressive Party.
Wozniak, 73, suffered a mild stroke while attending a business conference in Mexico City in November.
Wozniak left Apple in 1985 to pursue a wide range of other interests but has remained a fervent supporter of the company and a technology evangelist. He competed on the TV program “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009 and participated as a judge on an online video show called “Unicorn Hunters” that assesses ideas from entrepreneurs vying to build startups.