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Kin of Leo Varadkar, set to be Ireland PM, celebrate

10 Juin 2017

Indian-origin Leo Varadkar is set to become Ireland's Prime Minister as he won the Irish leadership race.

"As well as becoming Ireland's first gay prime minister, Varadkar, 38, will also become the country's youngest leader, and the first from an ethnic minority background".

Leo Varadkar, Ireland's first openly gay cabinet minister and the son of an immigrant doctor, has been the clear favourite to replace him. On the other hand, in 2015, it became the first nation to agree and allow on gay marriage after voting on it.

Following the announcement on Friday evening, Mr Varadkar said he was "honoured" to accept the "enormous challenge" ahead of him with humility.

Mr Varadkar beat his rival, Housing Minister Simon Coveney, with 60 percent of the votes.

Even as he ascends to the top of his party, Mr. Varadkar will continue to defer to Enda Kenny who will remain as taoiseach for a short time.

Kenny stepped down this week as leader of the Fine Gael party after six years as the prime minister.

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Varadkar came out as gay on Irish national radio in 2015.

Fine Gael is Ireland's center-right party.

Prime Minister-elect Leo Varadkar, who was campaigning for liberal abortion laws, may now turn his efforts into action.

The victor of the leadership contest is expected to take over from Enda Kenny as taoiseach (prime minister) in the next few weeks.

"If my election as leader of Fine Gael today has shown anything, it is that prejudice has no hold on this republic", Varadkar said after his victory was announced in Dublin.

Varadkar will become the second sitting openly gay prime minister in Europe, joining Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg. To do so would trigger a general election, which none of the major parties want right now. I am not a half- Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. It doesn't define me. "It's not something that defines me", he said.

Varadkar would be one of two openly gay heads of state now in office - Luxembourg's prime minister Xavier Bettel being the other.