Meet Leo Varadkar, the Indian-origin minister who may become Ireland’s new prime minister

first_imgLeo Varadkar, Ireland’s Minister for Social Protection, might become the country’s first openly gay Taoiseach (head of the Irish government).Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny resigned as head of the governing Fine Gael party, kicking off a succession contest between Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coveney. The party will choose its new leader on June 2.Varadkar has opened up a commanding lead in the race by securing 45 of 71 available votes from members of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party. Once the party has elected a new leader, members of the lower house of parliament will vote to confirm the chosen one as the new prime minister.Here are eight things to know about Leo Varadkar:He is half-Indian. Varadkar’s father, Ashok Varadkar, is an Indian and moved to English as a doctor in the 1960s. He met his future wife Miriam while she was working as a nurse in Slough, England. Varadkar’s parents settled in Dublin in 1973 and five years later he was born. Leo is the youngest child of the couple and has two elder sisters.Leo took admission in Trinity College, Dublin to study law but switched to medicine soon. During his time at Trinity College he was active in Young Fine Gael. Fine Gael is a Christian democratic political party in Ireland and is currently in power.Leo Varadkar graduated in medicine in 2003 and then worked as a junior doctor for many years before qualifying as a general practitioner in 2010.On his 36th birthday, during a radio interview he spoke about being gay. “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”, he said during same-sex marriage referendum campaign. Leo has also campaigned about liberalising abortion laws.He is Ireland’s first openly gay member of the cabinet.If Varadkar wins, he will be the first minority ethnic Taoiseach of Ireland and the first gay man to hold to the role.Leo Varadkar has served as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport from 2011 to 2014 and was the Minister for Health from 2014 until 2016.The 38-year-old has been dating Dr Matt Barrett since almost two years now.Also read: Ireland: ‘Go back to India’, woman filmed hurling abuses at Indians on trainadvertisementAlso read: A beach in Ireland reappears 33 years after vanishing into Atlantic OceanAlso watch :last_img

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