Leo Varadkar becomes new leader of Fine Gael

The former doctor - born to an Indian father and Irish mother - has previously said he is not defined by his heritage or sexuality: "It's not something that defines me".

Leo Varadkar is on track to take over the leadership of Ireland's ruling Fine Gael Party today, making him the next Taoiseach or Prime Minister.

An Irish Times tracking poll of party councillors showed that Mr Varadkar was leading in the third college that makes up the remaining 10 percent. Colleagues giddily proclaim that their new leader has the "X Factor". Fine Gael leads a minority government with support from the Fianna Fail party.

Ireland's first openly gay cabinet minister has been chosen by his party to be the nation's next prime minister.

"Ireland, a devoutly Catholic country that decriminalised homosexuality only 24 years ago, is poised to elect its first openly gay prime minister next month", wrote the New York Post.

Lawmakers from Fine Gael, the largest party in the Irish parliament, elected Varadkar in an overwhelming vote Friday.

Varadkar said that he was "honored" and "humbled" and would accept the "enormous challenge" ahead of him, the BBC reported.

During the campaign, Varadkar's political opponents claimed he would pull Ireland too much to the right.

Official confirmation of the Ireland's New Taoiseach is expected to be by June 13, when the country's Dail Parliament resumes, following a week-long break.

Varadkar will become the youngest taoiseach in the history of the country at 38. Prior to becoming a politician, Varadkar was a doctor; his partner, Matthew Barrett, is also a doctor.

'It's not something that defines me. It's just part of who I am'. Previous out European heads of government include Elio di Rupo, a gay man who was Belgium's prime minister from 2011 to 2014, and Johnanna Sigurdardottir, a lesbian who was Iceland's prime minister from 2009 to 2013. Varadkar will be the country's first gay leader.

Mr Kenny congratulated Mr Varadkar last night and also paid tribute to Mr Coveney, a TD for Cork.

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