Ireland gets set for its first gay conservative Prime Minister

His father Ashok Varadkar had met his mother Miriam in 1960s when she was working in Britain's National Health Service.

Varadkar, the son of a Mumbai- born doctor, was elected on Friday as leader of Ireland's Fine Gael, the country's biggest political party, reported the New York Times.

Varadkar came out as a gay man in 2015, when Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through popular vote.

Varadkar said he was "delighted and honoured" to win.

Mr Varadkar, the minister for social protection, outperformed environment and housing minister Simon Coveney in a surprisingly close internal Fine Gael party contest.

The successor to outgoing taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to be known early this evening when the result of a ballot for the leadership of Fine Gael is declared in the Mansion House in Dublin.

He'll join Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, who led the Social Democratic Alliance in Ireland from 2009 to 2013; Elio Di Rupo, who was prime minister of Belgium from 2011 to 2014; and Xavier Bettel, who now serves as the prime minister of Luxembourg.

"Ireland, a devoutly Catholic country that decriminalised homosexuality only 24 years ago, is poised to elect its first openly gay prime minister next month", wrote the New York Post. After that, 10% of the vote is from 235 local representatives, and 25% from the 21,000 registered members of the party. Dr Bhamjee, who won a Dáil seat in Clare for Labour in 1992, said he hoped Mr Varadkar's election would deliver a message of hope to people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds looking to build new lives in Ireland.

The Irish parliament is now set to confirm his nomination when it reconvenes on June 12.

However, Mr Varadkar has come under criticism for his comments on progressive issues and workers' rights. It doesn't define me.

Leo Varadkar is today beginning discussions with party colleagues, as he prepares to take over from Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. It's just part of who I am. "What I really want to say is that I'd like the referendum to pass because I'd like to be an equal citizen in my own country, the country in which I happen to be a member of Government, and at the moment I'm not".

  • Leroy Wright