Ireland elects openly gay prime minister

Simon Coveney congratulates Leo Varadkar

The son of an Indian immigrant, Leo Varadkar, will become Ireland's new prime minister after being elected Fine Gael's new leader on Friday, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

Varadkar succeeds Enda Kenny, who was party leader for 15 years and who will stand down as prime minister when parliament is expected to ratify Varadkar.

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.

The 38-year-old Varadkar will also be the youngest Prime Minister of Ireland.

He made headlines when he came out publicly on RTÉ as Ireland prepared to vote on marriage equality in a referendum in 2015.

Housing Prime Minister Simon Coveney was Varadkar's only opponent but had the backing of almost two-thirds of the regular party members.

PM-elect Varadkar defeated Housing Minister Simon Coveney, who hails from a family of Fine Gael stalwarts.

In 2015, Varadkar came out on Irish national radio.

"We welcome Ireland's first gay presumptive taoiseach ... here's to the next generation!"

Adding: 'I'm not a half-Indian politician or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter.

He announced his candidacy after Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced his resignation, a title referred to as Taoiseach in Ireland.

Leo Varadkar will be the new prime minister, or taoiseach, of Ireland.

He declared that the election results proved that "prejudice has no hold on this Republic".

The votes will be counted this afternoon and barring a major upset it's widely expected Leo Varadkar will become leader this evening.

When Varadkar takes office, he'll become the fourth openly homosexual world leader since 2009, according to LGBT media outlet Pink News.

But the grassroots members of Fine Gael only carry around a quarter of the final vote while the votes of TDs are roughly 400 times more valuable.

'It's not something that defines me.

"I want to thank everyone who engaged in this extraordinary, open democratic process", Varadkar said in his acceptance speech.

Varadkar's previous position was as the head of Ireland's welfare system.

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