Indian-Origin Leo Varadkar Formally Elected Ireland’s First Gay Prime Minister

Indian-Origin Leo Varadkar Formally Elected Ireland’s First Gay Prime MinisterLeo Varadkar. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Leo Varadkar, an openly gay Irish minister of Indian-origin, has been officially elected as the country's youngest and first openly gay prime minister.

Varadkar, 38, was formally elected Taoiseach - Prime Minister of Ireland- at a confirmation ceremony in the Dail in Dublin after he won the Fine Gael party leadership earlier this month. Varadkar will succeed Enda Kenny, who stepped down in May, following his involvement in a corruption scandal.

Varadkar was born in Dublin in 1979, the son of an Irish Catholic nurse from County Waterford and a Hindu doctor from Mumbai, India. His parents met in England in the 1960s and lived in India for a time before moving to Ireland.

As the next leader, he faces a number of challenges as he takes over the only EU country that has a land border with the UK as it prepares for Brexit. Abortion will be another big issue for Varadkar, specifically demands for a referendum on the future of the eighth amendment of Ireland's constitution.

Varadkar becomes the EU's youngest national leader, with Juri Ratas, the 38-year-old Estonian prime minister, and Emmanuel Macron, 39, of France, joining him as a trio under 40.

With inputs from ANI