The gay son of an Indian immigrant, Leo Varadkar, is going to be Ireland’s next prime minister. On Friday, he was voted leader of the country’s ruling party Fine Gael, beating Ireland’s current Home Minister Simon Coveney. The election was necessitated after the incumbent taoiseach – the Irish equivalent of prime minister – Enda Kenny, resigned in May.
Varadkar said he was “delighted and honoured” to win. “If my election shows anything it’s that prejudice has no hold in this Republic,” he said, according to the BBC. “”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 be its leader.”
Kenny said, “This is a tremendous honour for him and I know he will devote his life to improving the lives of people across our country.”
Varadkar’s father is a doctor from Mumbai and his mother is an Irish nurse. He has centre-right political views, and is considered a conservative when it comes to his economic policies – though he has widely supported same-sex marriage.
On May 21, he won the votes of his party MPs to take over Kenny’s position. However, he still needed to secure votes from the party’s non-parliamentary members and county councillors to become prime minister.