Ireland’s first openly gay cabinet minister has been chosen by his party to be the nation’s next prime minister.
Leo Varadkar, a 38-year-old son of an immigrant doctor from India, will now succeed the outgoing taoiseach Enda Kenny if he gains the backing of the Irish parliament.
His rival, a 44-year-old father-of-three from Cork, fared better than expected, meaning Mr Varadkar will have to wait to be appointed Ireland’s new premier.
Housing minister Simon Coveney performed better than expected in the internal party battle. Credit: PA The result was declared in Dublin’s Mansion House after a electoral college ballot split between the parliamentary party (65% of the vote), its 21,000 party members (25%) and 235 local representatives (10%). The centre-right Mr Varadkar will learn if he will be taoiseach on June 13 when the Dail parliament resumes after a week-long break Mr Kenny, who has led Fine Gael for 15 years, announced last month he was stepping down. He had faced repeated calls to stand aside after six years in government.