Leo Varadkar was 22 when he made his foray into Irish politics. At 27, he was elected to the parliament. At 36, he publicly came out as a gay and finally, at the age of 38, Vardakar appears on course to become Ireland’s next prime minister.
Born to an Indian immigrant father and an Irish mother, Varadkar is currently serving as Ireland’s Minister for Social Protection. He 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 from the post earlier this month.
Varadkar’s only opponent is Housing Minister Simon Coveney, who hails from a family of Fine Gael stalwarts.
If Varadkar is elected, the move would give the Catholic country its first openly gay leader and its first of Asian immigrant descent.
Here’s all you need to know about him:
Vardakar was born iand raised in Dublin to mother Miriam, a nurse originally from Waterfold and father Ashok, a doctor from Mumbai. He worked as a general practitioner before winning a seat in the Parliament in 2007.
He came out as a gay in 2015 when Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through popular vote. The popular minister has campaigned on same-sex marriage and liberalising abortion laws.
He held several ministerial portfolios including minister for social protection and minister for transport, tourism and sports.
If elected, Varadkar would be one of two openly gay heads of state currently in office — Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel being the other.
In the past, two other world leaders who went public with their sexuality were former Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and former Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Siguroardottir.