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GP wins FG race and becomes Taoiseach in waiting

02 Jun 2017

Minister for Social Protection Dr Leo Varadkar has been elected as the new leader of Fine Gael and is set to become the next Taoiseach.

Minister Varadkar won 60 per cent of the Fine Gael electoral college, compared with Simon Coveney’s 40 per cent.

The 11th leader of Fine Gael, who is expected to become the youngest ever Taoiseach, took 51 of 73 votes from the Parliamentary Party and 55 per cent of the vote among councillors.

However, Minister Coveney was ahead earlier today (June 2) with backing from 65 per cent of the party membership, receiving 7,051 votes to 3,772 for Minister Varadkar, with 19 invalid votes.

A qualified GP, Trinity-graduate Varadkar is son of retired Dublin GP Dr Ashok Varadkar, who was born in Mumbai and moved to England in the 1960s where he met his nurse wife Miriam, who is from Dungarvan, Co Waterford. The family then moved to India, but settled in Dublin in 1973.

Leo Varadkar first entered local politics in 2003, and rose to national prominence in 2011 when he was appointed Minister for Transport. He then succeeded Dr James Reilly as Minister for Health following a cabinet reshuffle in July 2014 – a post he told his mother at age seven that he wanted to hold.

He was returned to the Dáil in the February 2016 General Election, and retained the health portfolio until May of last year, due to the delay in forming the current partnership government, after which he was appointed Minister for Social Protection.

In an interview on RTÉ Radio 1 in January 2015 with Miriam O’Callaghan, Varadkar revealed he is gay, but stressed that it was not something that defined him. “I’m not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. It’s just part of who I am, it doesn’t define me, it is part of my character I suppose.”

In his acceptance speech, Minister Varadkar said that the result showed that “prejudice has no hold in this Republic”.

Responding to the election, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD said that his party remained committed to delivering in full the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

dara.gantly@imt.ie

The post GP wins FG race and becomes Taoiseach in waiting appeared first on Irish Medical Times.

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