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Indian-origin Leo Varadkar to become Ireland's first gay PM

03 Jun 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

38-year-old Indian-origin politician Leo Varadkar, Ireland's first openly gay politician, is set to become country's new prime minister after he won the leadership of the ruling Fine Gael party.

Varadkar is Ireland's youngest PM, and its first leader who is both gay and hails from an ethnic minority background.

Varadkar secured 60% of the vote to beat his rival, Housing Minister Simon Coveney.

In context: Leo Varadkar - Ireland's first gay PM

IntroductionWho is Leo Varadkar?

38-year old Leo Varadkar is an openly gay Irish Minister of Indian origin.

He is the leader of the Fine Gael political party and also Ireland's Minister for Social Protection since May 2016.

Varadkar was born in Dublin; his father is now a retired Indian doctor and his mother is Irish.

Before being Minister for Social Protection, Varadkar was Minister for Health between 2014-2016.

BackgroundFine Gael - Varadkar's political party

A liberal-conservative and Christian democratic political party in Ireland, Fine Gael means Family or Tribe of the Irish.

It is Ireland's current governing party. It is also the largest political party in Ireland with a membership of 25,000.

Fine Gael party leader Enda Kenny is the Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland).

The party also has a youth wing called 'Young Fine Gael.'

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Young Fine Gael

Leo Varadkar is a veteran of the Young Fine Gael - having joined the youth wing of his political party when he was studying medicine in Trinity College.
Varadkar's political career

PoliticsVaradkar's political career

In 2011, Fine Gael entered a coalition with the Labour Party, a social-democratic, centre-left party.

Under this coalition, Varadkar became Ireland's Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

In July 2014, James Reilly was replaced by Leo Varadkar as Ireland's Minister for Health.

On his 36th birthday (18th January, 2015) while he was Minister for Health, Varadkar spoke publicly on RTÉ Radio about being gay.

On coming out

"I am a gay man," said Leo Varadkar. He added, "It's not something that defines me. I'm not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician, or a gay politician. It doesn't define me, it's part of my character I suppose."

03 Jun 2017Indian-origin Leo Varadkar to become Ireland's first gay PM