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Ireland’s Next PM Is Gay, Youngest Leader And Son Of An Indian Immigrant

Fine Gael is the largest political party in the Republic of Ireland in terms of members of the Oireachtas (the legislature of Ireland) and Irish members of European Parliament. This party is in power and has 18,000 members. Enda Kenny was the Taoiseach (The prime minister of the Republic of Ireland) until he resigned last month. The leadership election of Fine Gale for the year 2017 was held in May and the son of an Indian immigrant, Leo Varadkar, 38, made a clear win. Later this month, the Parliament of Ireland will resume and Ireland will have its first 38-year-old gay prime minister. He will also become Ireland's youngest leader. WittyFeed brings you lesser known facts about Leo Varadkar. Here is a 10-image brief about the person who has been making news for quite some time now. His journey from a doctor to Ireland's top post is intriguing.Read on to know about him. 

The centre-right conservative

Varadkar is said to be the symbol of new and progressive Ireland especially after the Republic of Ireland voted for gay marriage in May 2015. The two-week electoral contest also made the media spectators call him, “The Thatcherite” candidate after his comments during the election campaigns revolved round conservative, centre-right politics. He received support from LGBT groups in Ireland. 

Varadkar’s ideology

Brian Finnegan, who is the editor of Gay Community News in Dublin, said, “I think it’s really significant that both his (Varadkar) party and the media in Ireland focused on his policies, rather than him simply being a gay man who wants to lead the country."Source: The Guardian 

Political past from 2004

Varadkar who graduated as a medical doctor from Trinity College Dublin entered Irish politics in 2004. He won the Dublin West constituency by almost 5,000 votes in the local government elections.

Ireland’s Health Minister

After the losses suffered by the political party Fine Gael in 2016, Leo stepped down as Ireland’s health minister. He then became minister for social protection after becoming a part of minority coalition. 

Outgoing PM’s support

Kenny who led the government for 15 years said, “This is a tremendous honour for him (Leo Varadkar) and I know he will devote his life to improving the lives of people across our country."

Appreciating democracy and Simon

The outgoing Prime Minister also appreciated Fine Gael party and Simon by saying, “I want to also thank and pay tribute to Simon Coveney for making the leadership election a real contest. This has been a wonderful exercise in democracy for the Fine Gael party."

Voting tally

The votes were tallied in Dublin and where Ireland’s media was busy focusing on the economic policies that will follow.The international media was more concerned about his sexual orientation and his Indian roots.

Rules

Some were surprised as to how the gay minister was able to win the election against Simon who enjoyed a strong grass root support. The Fine Gael parliamentary party has 73 TDs (members of the Irish assembly), senators and MEPs (Member of the European Parliament), got 65% of the votes.Leo was only able to surpass Simon's vote with the help of majority parliamentarian college votes that went in his favour. 

A mix of Indian and Irish

Ashok, Kenny’s father, moved to Ireland in 1960s from Mumbai and worked at an English hospital in Slough, a town in Berkshire, England. That is where he met, Kenny’s Irish mom Miriam.

Leo in 2015 

The time when he was interviewed on radio about being gay in the year 2015, this is what 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.”

Friday night celebrations

Leo's paternal family lives in Abhinav Nagar, Borivali East, in Mumbai. The members of his family were filled with joy after hearing the news of Leo being elected as Taoiseach on June 2, 2017. Celebrating his win, Leo's cousin Shekhar Varadkar, a retired Air India official, told NDTV: "It's a great thing - the beginning of a new era in the world. Ireland has elected him without any consideration of caste, religion, and ethnic background. Merit is the only criterion."