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Tue May 30, 2017, 09:39 AM

Gay son of Indian immigrant likely to be Ireland's next leader

(CNN)He was 22 when he entered Irish politics. At 27, he was elected to parliament. At 36, he publicly came out as gay. And now, at 38, Leo Varadkar, the son of an Indian immigrant father and an Irish mother, appears on course to become Ireland's next prime minister.

The young Dubliner, currently serving as Ireland's Minister for Social Protection, announced his campaign to succeed Taoiseach Enda Kenny, prime minister since 2011 and leader of the ruling Fine Gael party since 2002, shortly after Kenny announced he would be stepping down earlier this month.

Varadkar's only opponent is Housing Minister Simon Coveney, who hails from a family of Fine Gael stalwarts. While Coveney appeals to the party's more conservative membership outside of the capital city, many see Varadkar as a fresh face for urban voters while still appealing to the party's rural base.

Varadkar has managed to shore up the support of many of his fellow Fine Gael parliamentary members, whose say counts for 65% of the final vote; the party members and local politicians make up the other 35%. A decision is expected by June 2.


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