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I promise to serve, says Ireland’s youngest Taoiseach

The new ruling Fine Gael leader won 57 votes in the Irish parliament.

Leo Varadkar, the right-wing son of an immigrant Indian doctor, has been formally elected Ireland’s youngest and first gay Taoiseach.

The new ruling Fine Gael leader won 57 votes in the Irish parliament against 50 for his nomination as premier. Some 45 parliamentarians abstained in the vote.

Accepting his elevation to the most powerful office in the country, the 38-year-old said: “I’ve been elected to lead but I promise to serve.”

A qualified doctor who has held three Cabinet posts, Mr Varadkar only revealed he was gay months before Ireland – once regarded among Europe’s most socially conservative states – became the first country in the world to back same-sex marriage in a referendum in May 2015.

His parents, Ashok and Miriam, and partner, Matt, were among the guests in the Dail’s distinguished visitors’ gallery for his election.

Paying tribute to his predecessor, Enda Kenny, who resigned on Tuesday, Mr Varadkar said: “I have no doubt, only for him, this country as we know it would not be here today.

“On a personal note, I would like to add, were it not for Enda Kenny I have no doubt I would not be standing here in this seat today.”

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