Leo Varadkar: Ireland set to have first gay PM


Saying it with candies: Manohar Varadkar (centre), uncle of Leo Varadkar, Prime Minister-elect of Ireland, and other family members celebrating the news of his nomination at their residence in Borivali.

He's replacing Fine Gael's former leader Enda Kenny, who promised to resign following a poor performance in the last general election.

Varadkar is expected to engage with independent ministers in government such as: Denis Naughten and Katherine Zappone about their role in government.

His victory marks a watershed moment in Ireland, a once overwhelmingly Catholic and socially conservative country, with the Irish Times calling it a "new dawn".

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He said it is the start of a more democratic, more engaged and more inclusive Fine Gael party.

Leo Varadkar is today beginning discussions with party colleagues, as he prepares to take over from Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

Varadkar said he was honoured to be elected as party leader.

Varadkar represents a few historic firsts for Ireland: He'll be the country's first openly gay taoiseach, which is essentially the prime minister.

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"Ireland, a devoutly Catholic country that decriminalised homosexuality only 24 years ago, is poised to elect its first openly gay prime minister next month", wrote the New York Post.

He also said that, if elected Taoiseach, he will "seek to serve this country with integrity, passion & determination, and courage".

After the final counting of the votes by all three electoral colleges, it was revealed that Varadkar won with 60 per cent votes against 40 per cent votes garnered by his opponent, Housing Minister Simon Coveney. But Varadkar's policies signal a sharp move towards the right.

Varadkar himself was a doctor before joining the active politics. He pledged to invest in large infrastructure projects, reform tax laws for the self-employed and has proposed to ban "essential" public workers from going on strike.

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"Every proud parent in Ireland today can dream big dreams for their children", Varadkar said.