Indian-origin Varadkar set to become 1st gay PM of Ireland
New York [U.S.], June 3 (ANI): 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, 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 is likely to succeed Enda Kenny, who has stepped down in May, following him involvement in a corruption scandal.
Varadkar secured 60 percent of the total weighted vote in the contest while his only rival Simon Coveney, minister for housing, planning, community and local government, only took 40 percent.
Varadkar presents himself as conservative on issues like the economy and law and order. As he was campaigning for the party leadership, he used his cabinet position as minister for social protection to start a high-profile campaign against welfare fraud, which was seen as a gesture to appeal to Fine Gael's right-wing supporters.
In 2015, Varadkar was widely praised for bravery and honesty when he said publicly spoke about his orientation, the first Irish government minister to do so.
Kenny announced his retirement on May 17 after being weakened by a scandal over his government's handling of police corruption. Varadkar said he was honoured to be elected as party leader.
He said it is the start of a more democratic, more engaged and more inclusive Fine Gael party.
Varadkar was born in Dublin in 1979, the son of an Irish Catholic nurse from County Waterford and a Hindu doctor from Mumbai, India. His parents met in England in the 1960s and lived in India for a time before moving to Ireland.
The report further says, growing up in a country, where religious divisions have historically run deep, he attended a Catholic elementary school and a Protestant high school that followed the Church of Ireland tradition. He told in 2015 that he was raised Catholic but was "not a particularly religious person,"
Though the Fine Gael party and its allies have the largest bloc of seats in Parliament, they do not command a majority. Even so, opposition parties are not expected to block Varadkar's formal election as prime minister by the Dail as. To do so would trigger a general election, which none of the major parties want right now. (ANI)