Leo Varadkar, November 30, 2011, when he was Ireland's Tourism Minister. Source: Flickr via William Murphy. Photograph: (Others)
It would be a large social change for Ireland, which only decriminalised same sex marriage in 2015, one of the last EU countries to do so
An Indian-origin Irish minister who is openly gay could very well be Ireland's next prime minister, The Hindustan Times reports.
Leo Varadkar, 38, is the leader of the Fine Gael political party and the minister of social protection. He is Dublin born, the son of a retired Indian doctor and an Irish mother, Hindustan Times reports.
A new poll earlier this week by Claire Byrne Live placed the current housing minister, Simon Coveney, at only 23 per cent support to lead the Fine Gael party, while Varadkar was preferred by 35 per cent of respondents.
Varadkar was also given the best odds by an online bookmaker, Paddy Power Betfair, which placed his odds to be the next prime minister at 4/11, th Hindustan Times reported.
But a poll of Irish Independent readers showed a different result altogether: 40 per cent preferred Coveney, while Varadkar came second with 33 per cent.
Reports suggested the possibility that Ireland's current prime minister, Enda Kenny, could step down after meeting Donald Trump on March 17; as he has been embroiled in controversy after an Irish police officer claimed that influential people were being charged with various offences but not prosecuted, The Hindustan Times reports.
Should Varadkar become prime minister, it would likely be a major change for Ireland, one of the last countries in the European Union to decriminalise homosexuality. Ireland only recognised same sex marriage in 2015.
Varadkar opened up about being homosexual in a January 2015 interview with RTE Radio 1, on his 36th birthday.
"It's not something that defines me. I'm not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politiciain for that matter. It's just part of who I am, it doesn't define me, it is part of my character I suppose," he said at the time.