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Ireland elects openly gay prime minister

04 Juin 2017

"We welcome Ireland's first gay presumptive taoiseach ... here's to the next generation!"

"As well as becoming Ireland's first gay prime minister, Varadkar, 38, will also become the country's youngest leader, and the first from an ethnic minority background".

He will also be a year younger than France's Emmanuel Macron when he attends his first European Union leaders summit later this month.

Leo Varadkar will be the new leader of Fine Gael, which is the largest party in the country's ruling coalition.

However, Minister Coveney was ahead earlier today (June 2) with backing from 65 per cent of the party membership, receiving 7,051 votes to 3,772 for Minister Varadkar, with 19 invalid votes. If he succeeds Enda Kenny, Varadkar will become the country's first homosexual Prime Minister. Kenny did say he would continue to serve until a replacement was elected. "He has the potential to be transformative for the political fortunes of Fine Gael and of the Irish political system in general".

He beat Minister for Housing Simon Coveney in the final vote.

Upon Mr. Kenny's return, it is expected that Fine Gael will open negotiations with other parties and individual Dáil members with the intention of having Mr. Varadkar confirmed as Mr. Kenny's successor.

But the Los Angeles Times reports that ultimately, it was Varadkar's charismatic and intelligent use of media to appeal to both urban and rural voters that led to his win.

But Varadkar has sought to position himself as a youthful, globally minded leader, in the mold of Canada's Justin Trudeau or France's Emmanuel Macron.

A former doctor whose Twitter bio notes that he talks too much, Varadkar came out in 2015 while campaigning in support of a national referendum that would allow same-sex marriage.

Varadkar's partner, Matthew Barrett, is a doctor at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. He has made numerous appearances to Trinity, from enjoying Trinity Ball to launching Med Day and speaking to Young Fine Gael. Economically, Fine Gael argues for a neoliberal approach, calling for less government regulation of businesses - but not a full laissez-faire removal of all regulation. He informed that Leo had been interested in politics since a very young age and has been sports and health Minister before.

Featured image by Talaj via iStockPhoto.

Ireland elects openly gay prime minister