Indian-origin Leo Varadkar elected as new PM of Ireland

Dublin, Dec 18 (IANS): Indian-origin Leo Varadkar, former Irish Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Fine Gael party, has been elected as the new prime minister of Ireland following a vote in the lower house of the Irish parliament.

On Saturday, total of 87 members of the house voted in favour of his nomination as the new prime minister while 62 members voted against it, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Following his appointment as new prime minister by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, Varadkar announced a reshuffle of the cabinet.

According to a list of the cabinet members, former Irish Prime Minister and leader of Fianna Fail Micheal Martin will become the new deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs and defence while former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney will become minister for enterprise, trade and employment.

Former Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will be the minister for public expenditure and reform while former Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath will take Donohoe's position as the new finance minister.

There are altogether 15 members in the cabinet. All the positions held by other cabinet members have remained the same.

After the nomination was approved by the lower house of the Irish parliament, the new cabinet held its first meeting on Saturday night.

This is the second time that Varadkar has been elected as Irish prime minister. He first became the Irish prime minister in June 2017. In June 2020, the Fine Gael party led by Varadkar formed a coalition government with Fianna Fail and Green Party, in which he served as deputy prime minister and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

According to an agreement reached by the three parties in setting up a coalition government, Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin will first serve as Irish prime minister until December 2022 and Fine Gael party leader Varadkar will replace Martin to be the new prime minister until the five-year term of the current government comes to an end.



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