Saturday, July 22, 2017 | ePaper

Indian-origin Leo Varadkar elected Ireland`s PM

  • Print


Reuters, Dublin :
Leo Varadkar was elected Irish Prime Minister on Wednesday, making the 38-year-old son of an Indian immigrant the first gay premier of the once-staunchly Catholic country and the youngest person to hold the office.
Despite inheriting Europe's fastest-growing economy, he will face immediate challenges in the shape of neighbouring Britain's exit from the European Union, a political crisis in Northern Ireland and a housing crisis at home.
Varadkar succeeded Enda Kenny earlier this month as leader of the Fine Gael party. Colleagues pinned their hopes of an unprecedented third term on the straight-talking Varadkar, who they believe can widen their appeal in elections that may be triggered as soon as next year.
"Enda Kenny's leadership enabled me to become an equal citizen in my own country two short years ago and to aspire to hold this office, an aspiration I once thought was beyond my reach, at least if I chose to be myself," Varadkar said in reference to Ireland's 2015 vote to legalise gay marriage.
"The government I lead will not be one of left or right. The government I lead will be one of the new European centre as we seek to build a Republic of opportunity, that is a Republic in which every citizen gets a fair go and in which every part of the country stands to share in our prosperity."
Varadkar's elevation marks another chapter in the social change that has swept through the country of 4.6 million people that only decriminalised homosexuality in 1993 and legalised divorce two years later.
"As the country's youngest holder of this office, he speaks for a new generation of Irish women and Irish men, he represents a modern, diverse and inclusive Ireland and speaks for them like no other," Kenny told parliament, nominating his successor.
However it is his policies that will attract more scrutiny at home with opponents warning that the former health, tourism and social protection minister, who first joined the centre-right party aged 17, would nudge it further to the right.

More News For this Category

Merkel may win election, but lose her Finance Minister

Merkel may win election, but lose her Finance Minister

Reuters, Sasbachwalden :Wolfgang Schaeuble has won his parliamentary seat a dozen times, survived an attempt on his life and guided Angela Merkel through the euro zone crisis. Now, the

Jihadist-rebel clashes intensify in Syria's Idlib

Jihadist-rebel clashes intensify in Syria's Idlib

AFP, Beirut :Clashes in Syria's Idlib province between a powerful jihadist group and a key rebel faction intensified overnight, spreading to a border crossing with Turkey, a monitor and

US bans travel to North Korea after Warmbier death

US bans travel to North Korea after Warmbier death

Reuters, Seoul :The United States will bar Americans from travelling to North Korea in the coming weeks, two travel agencies said Friday, a month after a US tourist, student

News In Brief

Indian army firing kills  MuslimAP, SrinagarPolice and witnesses say a man has been killed after the Indian army fired at a group of protesters hurling rocks at soldiers in

Israel limits Muslims access to Jerusalem site amid tensions

Israel limits Muslims access to Jerusalem site amid tensions

Reuters, Jerusalem :Israel bolstered security in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday and prepared for possible clashes with Muslim worshippers after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided metal detectors

Saudi lets Qataris go on Hajj, despite diplomatic row

Saudi lets Qataris go on Hajj, despite diplomatic row

AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Arabia said Thursday that Qataris wanting to perform this year's hajj will be authorised to enter the kingdom for the pilgrimage, despite a diplomatic spat between

`Brexit lunch` to assess talks progress

`Brexit lunch` to assess talks progress

AFP, Brussels :Britain and the EU will wrap up four days of tough Brexit talks in Brussels on Thursday with a special lunch between their chief negotiators as major

India among five countries that faced most terror attacks in 2016: US

India among five countries that faced most terror attacks in 2016: US

AP, Washington :More than half of the terror attacks in the world in 2016 took place in five countries, including India and Pakistan, a senior US counter-terror official has

After Mosul, Islamic State digs in for guerilla warfare

After Mosul, Islamic State digs in for guerilla warfare

Reuters, Mosul :Islamic State militants began reinventing themselves months before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces ended their three-year reign of terror in Mosul, putting aside the dream of a modern-day caliphate

News In Brief

Netanyahu slams EU's 'crazy' Israel policyAFP, Budapest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday denounced the EU's political demands on Israel as "absolutely crazy", in remarks leaked from a