Varadkar confirmed as Ireland’s first gay prime minister
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Varadkar confirmed as Ireland’s first gay prime minister

Leo Varadkar was elected Irish Prime Minister, making the 38-year-old son of an Indian immigrant the once-staunchly Catholic country’s first gay premier and the youngest person to hold the office.

world Updated: Jun 14, 2017 23:00 IST
HIndustan Times, London
Leo Varadkar,Ireland PM,Indian immigrant's son Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar applauds on stage to make his acceptance speech at the count centre as he wins the parliamentary elections in Dublin.(Reuters Photo)

Leo Varadkar, the son of a Mumbai-origin doctor, was on Wednesday confirmed as the country’s new prime minister following a vote in the country’s Parliament.

Varadkar, 38, who was earlier this month elected leader of the ruling Fine Gael party, is a medical doctor and the country’s youngest and first gay leader. He secured 57 votes to 50, with 47 abstentions, reports from Dublin said. His father worked in the National Health Service in London before moving to Ireland.

Addressing the Dáil — the Irish Parliament — Varadkar said: “I’ve been elected to lead but I promise to serve. The government that I lead will not be one of left or right because those old divisions don’t comprehend the political challenges of today.

“The government I lead will be one of the new European centre as we seek to build a republic of opportunity.”

Varadkar later met President Michael D Higgins, who gave him the seals of office to officially confirm his appointment.

Enda Kenny, who nominated Varadkar to succeed him as party leader and the prime minister, said he would carry out the role with integrity and skill: “As the country’s youngest holder of this office, he speaks for a new generation of Irish women and Irish men.

“He represents a modern, diverse and inclusive Ireland and speaks for them like no other, an Ireland in which each person can fulfil their potential and live their dreams.”

As Ireland’s prime minister, Varadkar will also deal with the implications of Brexit on the country and the yet-to-be formalised coalition arrangement between the Democratic Unionist Party of neighbouring Northern Ireland and the ruling Conservative party in London.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 19:33 IST