Leo Varadkar: Ireland elects first openly gay Prime Minister

38-year-old son of an Indian immigrant will also be youngest-ever person to hold the office

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 14 June 2017 15:31
Comments
Leo Varadkar won 57 votes in the Irish parliament against 50, with 45 abstentions
Leo Varadkar won 57 votes in the Irish parliament against 50, with 45 abstentions

Leo Varadkar has been formally elected Ireland's youngest and first openly gay prime minister in the majority-Catholic country.

The 38-year-old son of an Indian immigrant will also be the youngest-ever person to hold the office of Taoiseach after succeeding Enda Kenny.

The new ruling Fine Gael leader won 57 votes in the Irish parliament against 50 for his nomination as premier. Some 45 parliamentarians abstained in the vote.

Accepting his elevation to the most powerful office in the country, the 38-year-old said: "I've been elected to lead but I promise to serve."

Leo Varadkar poised to become Ireland's first gay Taoiseach

Mr Vardkar, who was nominated in parliament by departing Mr Kenny, won the votes of the independent lawmakers backing his Fine Gael party's minority government and secured the abstention of main opposition party Fianna Fail.

"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," Mr Kenny told parliament ahead of the vote.

Yesterday, Mr Varadkar warned the Prime Minister, Theresa May, that doing a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party could put the Good Friday Agreement at risk.

He said the British government should not get “too close” to any Northern Irish party.

“Our role as governments is to act as co-guarantors [to the Good Friday Agreement], not to be too close to any particular party in the North, whether it’s nationalist parties or unionist parties,” he added.

“That’s certainly something I will emphasis in any contacts that I have with the Prime Minister.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in