Indian-origin Leo Varadkar is set to become Ireland’s Prime Minister as he won the Irish leadership race. Varadkar will also be the country first gay prime minister and the first leader to have Asian roots. At 38, Varadkar is also the youngest leader to hold prime ministerial office. He is currently serving as the Minister for Social Protection in Ireland. Irish PM Enda Kenny resigned as head of the governing Fine Gael party, putting Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coveney in the leadership race. So far, Varadkar has managed to secure the support of 46 of Fine Gael’s 73 lawmakers. The party will elect its new leader on June 2.
Varadkar is a trained doctor and his father is an Indian immigrant born in Mumbai.
Varadkar overcame ministerial colleague Simon Coveney as expected, winning an overwhelming majority among the centre-right party’s lawmakers, who hope the straight-talking Dubliner can lead them to third successive term for the first time. Bar an unexpected development, Varadkar will be voted in as prime minister when parliament next sits on June 13 and become the once-staunchly Catholic country’s first openly gay premier and the youngest person ever to hold the office.
His election marks another chapter in the social change that has swept through the country of 4.6 million people that only decriminalised homosexuality in 1993 but became the first country to adopt gay marriage via a popular vote in 2015.