Ireland’s gay Prime Minister Leo Varadkar resigns

Leo Varadkar gayirish prime minister
Image: Leo Varadkar T.D./Facebook

Leo Varadkar resigned as Irish Prime Minister this week. Previously, his party, Fine Gael, failed to win a majority in the parliamentary elections held on 8 February.

With no other party winning a majority either, Ireland’s parliament remains in a political deadlock. With four candidates for the office of Taoiseach or prime minister, two other candidates received more votes than Leo Varadkar.

However, without a majority victor, he said he would remain on as caretaker

“The responsibility is on all of us to ensure we provide good government, and indeed good opposition.

“I think the onus is on those who have made enormous promises of change… to bring a programme of government for approval.

“If they cannot, they should say so and be upfront and honest about their failures and the empty promises.”

Came out during marriage equality referendum

In his previous role as health minister, Leo Varadkar came out during the 2015 Irish marriage equality referendum. Elected Taoiseach in 2017 at the age of 38, he became both Ireland’s first openly gay prime minister and the youngest. With his father Indian and his mother Irish, he was also the first Irish prime minister from an ethnic minority.

In Ireland, which overwhelmingly voted Yes for marriage equality, Leo Varadkar’s sexuality remained a non-issue during both his prime-ministership and the recent election. That election focussed on issues of health care and affordable housing.

Ireland also faces difficulties in its post-Brexit budget negotiations with the European Union. There is also a resurgence of hope for a reunified Ireland in the post-Brexit washup. That seems to have added to the votes of the nationalist Sinn Fein party at the expense of Varadkar’s Fine Gael.

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