Leo Varadkar

Photo via EU2016 SK/Wikimedia Commons

Ireland elects openly gay prime minister

Leo Varadkar is also the country's youngest ever.

 

Jessica Machado

IRL

Published Jun 2, 2017   Updated May 23, 2021, 4:23 am CDT

Ireland is getting its first openly gay, as well as its youngest, prime minister.

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On Friday, 38-year-old Minister of Social Protection Leo Varadkar beat out opponent Simon Coveney with 60 percent of the electoral college votes to be the leader of the ruling Fine Gael party. The outgoing Taoiseach, or prime minister, Enda Kenny, stepped down in May. Varadkar will be confirmed on June 13.

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Varadkar, who is also the son of an Indian immigrant, will be the fourth openly gay head of government in history: Luxembourg’s current prime minister, Xavier Bettel, is also openly gay.

In 2015, Varadkar came out on Irish national radio. He was also a vocal supporter of marriage equality, which was enacted that same year in Ireland. At the time, he said: “It’s not something that defines me. I’m not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. It’s just part of who I am, it doesn’t define me, it is part of my character I suppose.”

While his election might seem surprising for the traditionally Catholic country, Varadkar grew in popularity for his fiscally conservative politics, campaigning with the slogan “Welfare cheats us all,” according to CNN. He is also for reforming tax laws for the self-employed and banning “essential” public workers from going on strike.

H/T Pink News

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*First Published: Jun 2, 2017, 3:55 pm CDT