38-year-old Indian-origin gay creates history, becomes Ireland's youngest Prime Minister
If you wonder, why does the Prime Minister of Ireland matter to India? Wait till you hear about Leo Varadkar. At 38, Leo is contesting for the spot in Ireland and the diaspora in our country can't stop but embrace this joy. If succeeded, this feat could give the world one of the youngest prime ministers.
Leo recently beat his rival, Housing Minister Simon Coveney, with 60% of the votes to lead Fine Gael - the biggest party in the coalition government. He became the first gay taoiseach and will also be the country's youngest ever leader succeeding Enda Kenny as leader of the centre-right party. According to a BBC report, he is the son of an Irish nurse and a doctor from India and much of the media coverage of his victory has focused on Mr Varadkar's background, age and sexuality.
Speaking to the media, Leo expressed his happiness by saying,
Any child growing up in Ireland now, I hope, looks at me and my unlikely story and my background, and everything about me, and perhaps says to themselves, that there is no office in this state that I can't aspire to, nothing that they can't do if they believe in themselves.
He further added that,
But our job as a party is to make sure that every person in our country actually has those opportunities, because we don't have equality of opportunity in this country, there is great inequality of opportunity in this country, but as a party I want to dedicate ourselves to building a republic of opportunity.
His sister Shubhada Varadkar who is a well-known Odissi dancer said,
We hail from a family of freedom fighters that spread its wings across Mumbai and Ireland in the 1960s. His father Ashok, a doctor, married an Irish nurse, Miriam. Leo, too, is a medical doctor. His parents visit Mumbai and our ancestral village of Varad. Leo comes too. In fact he did his internship at KEM hospital. When he was sports minister, he accompanied the Irish cricket team to Mumbai. Ours is a large family. Whenever the Irish side of the family arrives here, we have a large gathering of 60-odd extended relatives in our Borivli house.
Speaking after the final votes were tallied in Dublin, Leo said that he was delighted, humbled and honoured to win. Coveney joked that at least his children would be pleased that he had lost.
Enda Kenny who lost the spot to Leo said Varadkar had his full support.
This is a tremendous honour for him and I know he will devote his life to improving the lives of people across our country.I want to also thank and pay tribute to Simon Coveney for making the leadership election a real contest. This has been a wonderful exercise in democracy for the Fine Gael party.
Kenny, who led the party for 15 years and has been at the head of two governments for more than six years, delayed his resignation on a number of occasions this year said a Guardian report.