Tags: leo varadkar | ireland | pm | youngest | gay

Leo Varadkar Becomes Ireland's Youngest, 1st Openly Gay PM

Image: Leo Varadkar Becomes Ireland's Youngest, 1st Openly Gay PM

New Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar waves at Leinster House after being elected as Taoiseach on June 14, 2017, in Dublin, Ireland. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Jun 2017 04:52 PM

Leo Varadkar became the Republic of Ireland's youngest and first openly gay taoiseach, or prime minister, after a parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

"I've been elected to lead but I promise to serve," Varadkar said, according to BBC News. "The government that I lead will not be one of left or right because those old divisions don't comprehend the political challenges of today. The government I lead will be one of the new European center as we seek to build a republic of opportunity."

Parliament voted 57 to 50 with 45 abstentions to confirm the 38-year-old leader and former health, tourism, and social protection minister.

Earlier this month, Varadkar won leadership of the country's center-right Fine Gael party.

"I know when my father traveled 5,000 miles to build a new home in Ireland, I doubt that he ever dreamed that one day his son would grow up to be its leader and despite his differences, his son would be judged by his actions not his identity," Varadkar said of his Indian father, Ashok, who moved to Ireland in the 1970s, according to Reuters.

"Every proud parent in Ireland today can dream big dreams for their children," Varadkar added.

Varadkar was nominated by his predecessor Enda Kenny, who said he would "bring energy, integrity, and skill to the role," according to The Irish Times.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Varadkar's views are "significantly more right-wing," than his colleagues, the Times noted.

“For a gay man, for the son of a migrant, to be elected taoiseach of this country is an important step,’’ Labour leader Brendan Howlin said, according to the Times.

Twitter users shared mixed reactions to the appointment.

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Leo Varadkar became the Republic of Ireland's youngest and first openly gay taoiseach, or prime minister, after a parliamentary vote on Wednesday.
leo varadkar, ireland, pm, youngest, gay
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Wednesday, 14 Jun 2017 04:52 PM
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