Leo Varadkar Was Just Voted Prime Minister of Ireland

What appears more likely, indeed nearly certain, is that 38-year-old Dublin-born Mr. Varadkar, who is gay, will become Ireland's youngest ever taoiseach.

Varadkar, the son of an Indian-born father and Irish mother, became a doctor before first entering Irish parliament at the age of 27. Varadkar will also be the country first gay prime minister and the first leader to have Asian roots.

The election of Varadkar is another major step towards equality in the country after legalizing gay marriage in 2015.

Following the announcement on Friday evening, Varadkar said he was "honoured" to accept the "enormous challenge" ahead of him with humility.

Varadkar was elected leader of the ruling Fine Gael party even though a majority of its grassroots members voted for his rival Simon Coveney.

If elected, Varadkar would be one of two openly gay heads of state now in office - Luxembourg's prime minister Xavier Bettel being the other.

Mr Varadkar said he would set about making the party more democratic and more inclusive.

The outgoing Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, stepped down as party leader in May, a position he held since 2002. When my father traveled 5,000 miles to build a new home in Ireland, I doubt he ever dreamed his son would grow up to be its leader.

The 38-year-old earlier said that people around the world look to Ireland and are reminded that this isn't a country where it matters where you come from, "but rather where you want to go".

Mr Varadkar did manage to pull himself up by getting the nod of approval from 51 TDs, Senators and MEPs, votes which have a higher weighting than the other member voters.

In his leadership campaign, "Taking Ireland Forward", Varadkar's fiscally conservative politics took center stage.

An Irish Times tracking poll of party councillors showed that Varadkar was leading in the third college that makes up the remaining 10 percent.

'It's not something that defines me. I am not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter.

  • Leroy Wright