Ireland's governing Fine Gael party recently elected the Indian-origin Leo Varadkar as its new leader. Following his election as party leader, the 38-year-old gay son of an Indian immigrant is expected to be appointed as Taoiseach by the President of Ireland if so nominated by Dáil Éireann, in accordance with Article 13 of the Constitution of Ireland. He will be succeeding Enda Kenny, 66, as prime minister in a striking sign of the country's rapid social change. Kenny will remain in place for a couple more weeks while Varadkar holds talks with other parties and independents propping up the Fine Gael-led government.
Bar an unexpected development, Varadkar will be voted in as prime minister when parliament next sits on June 13 and become the once-staunchly Catholic country's first openly gay premier and the youngest person ever to hold the office.
Varadkar overcame ministerial colleague Simon Coveney, winning an overwhelming majority among the centre-right party's lawmakers, who hope the straight-talking Dubliner can lead them to third successive term for the first time.
This generational shift election marks another chapter in the social change that has swept through the country of 4.6 million people that only decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 but became the first country to adopt gay marriage via a popular vote in 2015. It also shows another face of modern-day Ireland. Varadkar's father Ashok, who like his son is a doctor, was born in Mumbai in India. He met his wife Miriam, an Irish nurse, in England in the 1970s before moving to Ireland where Varadkar was born.
He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) since 2007, currently for the Dublin West constituency. He previously served as Minister for Social Protection from 2016 to 2017, Minister for Health from 2014 to 2016 and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport from 2011 to 2014.