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Ireland's ruling Fine Gael party set to announce new leader

Kenny has been prime minister since 2011 and oversaw the country's 2015 vote legalizing gay marriage.

Leo Varadkar of the governing centre-right Fine Gael party is set to become Ireland's first openly gay prime minister after winning a party leadership election on Friday, Fine Gael said on Twitter.

LEO Varadkar has beaten housing minister Simon Coveney in the Fine Gael leadership contest.

"If my election as leader of Fine Gael today has shown anything, it is that prejudice has no hold on this republic", Varadkar said after his victory was announced in Dublin. The 21,000 rank- and-file members of the party have 25 per cent and 235 local representatives 10 per cent.

Ireland's new Taoiseach is expected to be formally confirmed by June 13, when the country's Dail Parliament resumes following a week-long break.

The next taoiseach is expected to be known early on Friday evening when votes to elect the next leader of the Fine Gael party are counted in the Mansion House in Dublin.

He had faced repeated calls to stand aside after six years in government.

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Mr Varadkar praised Mr Coveney for his campaign and said the two of them would sit down and discuss the future of the party on Saturday.

Ireland is on the cusp of electing its first gay premier after the ruling Fine Gael party revealed its new leader, Leo Varadkar.

Kenny said Varadkar had his full support.

"If my election today shows anything, it is that prejudice has no hold in this Republic", Varadkar said to huge applause in a speech at Dublin's Mansion House, where Ireland's parliament first sat nearly a century ago. This announcement, as per Hindustan Times, jolted his father but junior Varadkar told that his father is a very supportive person and will always be by his side. He met his wife Miriam, an Irish nurse, in England in the 1970s before moving to Ireland where Varadkar was born.

Voting took place around the country this week.

Varadkar, 38, came out publicly as gay in 2015, nearly two decades after homosexuality and divorce were both legalized in Ireland - but before the gay marriage referendum was successfully passed by popular vote. It's just part of who I am. The current minister for social protection is also openly gay and the son of a Hindu immigrant father who was born in India.

Socially liberal and economically conservative, Varadkar has irked the left in parliament by stressing personal responsibility over state intervention.



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