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Simon Harris set to become Ireland’s youngest prime minister


NEW DELHI: Simon Harris, a 37-year-old of Indian descent, is poised to become Ireland’s youngest prime minister after being selected as the new leader of the ruling Fine Gael party, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Expressing deep gratitude, Harris stated that being appointed as party leader was the “absolute honor of my life,” succeeding Leo Varadkar, who unexpectedly resigned, citing the party’s need for a new direction.
Harris is set to assume office as Ireland’s youngest-ever prime minister, known as the taoiseach, when the parliament reconvenes on April 9, with support from Fine Gael’s coalition partners, according to Al Jazeera.
Fine Gael’s deputy leader, Simon Coveney, praised Harris for securing leadership support comprehensively, stating, “I think he’s done a really good job.”
Addressing Fine Gael members, Harris pledged relentless dedication, promising to repay their trust with hard work, responsibility, and humility.
He outlined his priorities, emphasizing Fine Gael’s commitment to law and order, reclaiming the party’s identity from nationalists, and advocating for a more planned immigration policy while opposing populism.
On the international stage, Harris called for a ceasefire in Gaza and condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “horrific and illegal.”
With a tight timeline, Harris faces the challenge of preserving the coalition’s strength in parliamentary elections within a year, Al Jazeera reported.
Sinn Fein, a left-wing party advocating for unification with Northern Ireland, has seen its popularity decline in recent polls, potentially altering the political landscape.
Harris, previously serving as Minister for Education, Research, and Science, gained prominence for his leadership during Ireland’s COVID-19 response.
Reflecting on his journey into politics, Harris attributed his involvement to concerns for his autistic brother’s educational support, branding himself an “accidental politician.”
Before Harris, Leo Varadkar held the distinction of being Ireland’s youngest-ever leader, serving as prime minister from 2017 to 2020 and again since December 2022.
Varadkar’s unexpected resignation was announced on Wednesday, citing personal and political reasons, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Notably, Varadkar, of Indian-Irish heritage, broke barriers as Ireland’s first openly gay and biracial prime minister.

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