What next for Leo Varadkar?
Results from the election in Ireland have resulted in something of a three-way tie between the major parties, with a surge in support for Sinn Féin changing the dynamics of power.
Fianna Fáil won 38 seats, Sinn Féin won 37 seats, and Fine Gael – the party that led the outgoing government and which Leo Varadkar led as Taoiseach – won 35 seats.
What that means is that some form of coalition arrangement will be required to bring together the 80 seats required to form the government.
As one of the few gay world leaders, we’re keeping a close eye on the prospects of Leo Varadkar, but the most likely scenario is that the government will be formed by Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin. Varadkar remains in position as Taoiseach until the new government is formed.
The key deadline is 20 February, when the parliament convenes, so the pressure is on to see who can agree a coalition before then and secure the votes needed to establish a government.
Who is Leo Varadkar?
Early life and career
Born in Dublin in 1979, Leo Varadkar’s mother was a nurse. His father was a doctor who had moved to Dublin from Mumbai, and the family retained strong connections with India.
Studying medicine at Trinity College in Dublin, Varadkar was active in student politics, taking official roles in the European People’s Party.
Following graduation, Varadkar worked as General Practitioner.
Varadkar was elected to the lower house of the Irish parliament in 2007. He was immediately appointed to the front-bench of the government, and subsequently held a number of portfolios and ministerial responsibilities.
In 2017, Varadkar was elected as the head of the political party Fine Gael, and was able to secure enough support in the parliament to be appointed Taoiseach.
In early 2015, during a media interview, Varadkar spoke publicly for the first time about being gay. Later that year, Ireland held a referendum on the question of marriage equality – Varadkar was one of the prominent advocates for marriage equality. Varadkar’s partner is Matthew Barrett.