Confirmed by a majority vote, Leo Varadkar, a gay man, has taken office as Taoiseach — the prime minister of Ireland.
Last month, Varadkar became the leader of governing political party Fine Gael, then submitted to become the next prime minister.
The lower house of Parliament, the Dail Eireann, approved his nomination 57-50, with 45 abstaining. According to The Independent, the main opposition party Fianna Fail was the main abstention.
“If my election has shown anything, it is that prejudice has no hold in this Republic,” he said in his victory speech reported by PinkNews. “Friends, today I’m honoured to have been elected as leader of the party. I accept it with humility, and am also aware of the challenges ahead. I want to thank everyone who engaged in this democratic process. To you who supported me, I give you my heartfelt thanks, and won’t let you down. To those who did not, I hope I can gain your trust and confidence in the years ahead.”
He also said his father, who is an immigrant from India, would be proud that he could “be judged by his actions, not his origins or identity.”
According to CNN, former party leader Enda Kenny stepped down after being Taoiseach since 2002.
He is the fourth openly gay head of government in world history. Currently the other gay leader in office is Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s prime minister. Varadkar is also the European Union’s youngest leader at 38.