Varadkar becomes Ireland's first openly gay prime minister

Mr Varadkar will head a minority government with the backing of the Independent Alliance, two Independent TDs and a confidence and supply agreement with the main opposition party Fianna Fail. "The government that I lead will not be one of left or right because those old divisions don't comprehend the political challenges of today".

Fine Gael Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is congratulated as he leaves Leinster House in Dublin after he has been elected as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland.

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The Irish Times reported Varadkar then traveled to President Michael Higgins' residence to sign the warrant of office and complete the election process.

"When my father travelled 5,000 miles to build a new home in Ireland, I doubt he ever dreamed his son would grow up to be its leader", he had said.

Questions centre over whether he will keep his rival for the job, Simon Coveney, in a senior and high profile ministry and whether he will demote Simon Harris, Minister for Health and one of Mr Coveney's most prominent supporters.

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Kenny nominated Varadkar to the position.

Varadkar, a doctor educated at Trinity College Dublin, entered Irish politics in 2004, when he got nearly 5,000 votes in a local government election in the Dublin West constituency.

"Enda Kenny's leadership enabled me to become an equal citizen in my own country two short years ago and to aspire to hold this office, an aspiration I once thought was beyond my reach, at least if I chose to be myself", Varadkar said in reference to Ireland's 2015 vote to legalise gay marriage.

Despite Varadkar's firsts, Irish media and voters are "not obsessed about his sexuality or his racial origins", The Guardian's Henry McDonald tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. "It's just part of who I am, it doesn't define me, it is part of my character I suppose".

The new Taoiseach, Ireland's 13th, was elected to the office exactly 10 years to the day since he first took his seat in parliament as a TD for Dublin West. "We wish him the very best", Prendergast said.

Mr Martin said it was certainly true Mr Varadkar's views would be significantly more right wing on most economic topics than the centre-ground consensus.

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