Varadkar to become Ireland's first gay PM

Cheryl Sanders
June 3, 2017

As the new leader of the biggest party in the Republic of Ireland's ruling coalition, Fine Gael, Varadkar is expected to take over from former Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny in the next few weeks - and would become Ireland's youngest ever premier.

The 38-year-old is set to become taoiseach later this month, replacing current Prime Minister Enda Kenny, CNN reported.

After the win, Varadkar said, "If my election shows anything it's that prejudice has no hold in this Republic".

All votes have now been cast in the race for the next leader of Fine Gael.

Varadkar secured 60 percent of the total weighted vote in the contest while his only rival Simon Coveney, minister for housing, planning, community and local government, only took 40 percent.

Polling had closed earlier today with a 100 per cent turnout in the parliamentary party recorded. Varadkar's Hindu father, Ashok, is from Mumbai and met his Irish Catholic mother Miriam while they both worked at an English hospital in the 1960s. Brexit has major implications for Ireland, the only European Union country to share a land border with the United Kingdom.

Mr Varadkar, who came out as gay in the run up to the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum, is now in charge of the welfare system. "It's just part of who I am, it doesn't define me, it is part of my character I suppose", Varadkar told RTE 1. Prior to becoming a politician, Varadkar was a doctor; his partner, Matthew Barrett, is also a doctor.

First to be counted will be the votes of just over 11,000 of the 21,000 members who made a decision to vote, then the councillors and then those crucial Parliamentary Party votes.

"He's a very original thinker and I think his own journey reflects the journey of Ireland in a way, in terms of inclusion and diversity". "Someone who is unconditionally on my side, which is always great", Varadkar said.

As Prime Minister he said he wants to hold a referendum on abortion in 2018 because the laws are too restrictive.

After working several years as a doctor before entering Irish parliament, he was quickly promoted to the front bench, first appointed as the minister for transport, tourism and sport, then tasked with leading the health ministry, then onto the ministry of social protection.

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