Ireland set for first openly gay prime minister

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Leo Varadkar on Friday was elected as the leader of Fine Gael, the largest party in Ireland's ruling coalition, positioning him to become the nation's first openly gay taoiseach, or prime minister.

A headline in the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom reads: "Son of Indian immigrant on course to become Ireland's first openly gay prime minister after being chosen to succeed Enda Kenny".

Varadkar represents a few historic firsts for Ireland: He'll be the country's first openly gay taoiseach, which is essentially the prime minister. In 2015, while Ireland was debating the Marriage Equality Bill, allowing same-sex couples to marry, Varadkar came out as gay on a radio show.

Coveney won the backing of 65% of Fine Gael's grassroots members, but Varadkar took the victory after securing significant support among local representatives and the parliamentary party.

Mr Kenny announced last month he was stepping down after 15 years leading Fine Gael.

LEO Varadkar declared yesterday that "prejudice has no hold on this republic" after he was elected the new leader of Fine Gael.

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Adding: 'I'm not a half-Indian politician or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. To do so would trigger a general election, which none of the major parties want right now. Even so, opposition parties are not expected to block Varadkar's formal election as prime minister by the Dail as.

His based his campaign on "Taking Ireland Forward", and he has fought against welfare fraud with the slogan "Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All".

At 38, he will also be Ireland's youngest ever prime minister.

"When my father travelled 5,000 miles to build a new home in Ireland, I doubt he ever dreamed his son would grow up to become leader", he said. "It's not something that defines me", he said.

If elected, Varadkar would be one of two openly gay heads of state now in office - Luxembourg's prime minister Xavier Bettel being the other. It doesn't define me.

He will also be a year younger than France's Emmanuel Macron when he attends his first European Union leaders summit later this month.