GP wins FG race and becomes Taoiseach in waiting

NY [U.S.], June 3: Leo Varadkar, an openly gay Irish minister of Indian-origin, is widely tipped to become the next prime minister of Ireland, thus giving the Catholic nation its first leader of Asian descent. Varadkar would be the Ireland's first openly gay prime minister, the first of Indian descent, and the country's youngest prime minister ever.

Ireland allowed gay marriage by a popular vote in 2015 but still has Europe's toughest laws against abortion and Varadkar has campaigned for liberalising them.

Varadkar said he was "aware of the enormous challenges ahead".

Housing Prime Minister Simon Coveney was Varadkar's only opponent but had the backing of almost two-thirds of the regular party members.

Varadkar was elected on Friday as leader of Ireland's Fine Gael, the country's biggest political party.

Varadkar's father Ashok, also a doctor, was born in Mumbai. I am not a half- Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. To LGBT activists, this was a welcome signal that his sexual orientation was a nonissue.

Mr Varadkar, the Republic's first openly gay cabinet minister, had the backing of most of his party's elected representatives but Mr Coveney (44) had stronger support from grassroots membership.




Varadkar will become the youngest taoiseach in the history of the country at 38.

The new Taoiseach is not expected to be formally confirmed until June 13 when the Dail resumes following a week-long break.

If my election shows anything it's that prejudice has no hold in this Republic. He came out of the closet in 2015, becoming the first Irish government minister to do so.

The New York Times reported the news with the headline, "Gay Lawmaker, Leo Varadkar, Is in Line to Be Ireland's Prime Minister". It's just part of who I am'.

'It's not something that defines me.

Ireland's likely next Taoiseach, the Dublin TD defeated Simon Coveney in the leadership contest by a 60:40 margin.

Varadkar also said that Leo knows very little Hindi and Marathi, as his visits to India have been really short and sparse.

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