ASKED what qualities they seek in a politician, many people may mention honesty, transparency and reliability. Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s minister for social protection, scores high on the first two. On the third characteristic, there is somewhat more doubt. But his fellow members of the governing Fine Gael party trusted him well enough to choose him as their new leader on June 2nd. Assuming parliament confirms him later this month, he will become Ireland’s next prime minister, replacing Enda Kenny, who is stepping down over a scandal involving the national police force.
Mr Varadkar certainly represents something new. At 38 years old he would be the youngest prime minister since Ireland gained independence in 1922. The son of a Hindu doctor from Mumbai and an Irish nurse from Waterford, he is also the first with non-European ancestry. And in 2015, in the course of a successful referendum campaign to legalise same-sex marriage, he became the first Irish cabinet minister ever to…Continue reading