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Simon Harris elected as youngest Irish prime minister in history – UPI.com


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Simon Harris was elected as Ireland’s prime minister on Tuesday, becoming the youngest person to hold the position. Photo by Mostafa Darwish/EPA-EFE

April 9 (UPI) — Ireland’s parliament on Tuesday approved Simon Harris as its youngest prime minister, or taoiseach, in history.

The Dail, Ireland’s lower house of parliament, voted 88-69 to approve Harris, 37, who was the lone candidate put forward to replace Leo Varadkar, 45, who resigned unexpectedly last month for “personal and political reasons.”

Harris, known for his use of social media which has brought him the nickname the “TikTok taoiseach,” was then given the seal of office from President Michael Higgins.

“I commit to doing everything that I can to honor the trust that you have placed in me today,” Harris, of the Fine Gael Party, said after his appointment. “This is very much a partnership government, and I intend to lead it in the spirit of unity, collaboration and mutual respect.”

Opposition parties argued, however, that Harris is a supporter of the current center-right governing coalition that has led Ireland into housing problems and soured relations with the public service sector.

Harris also recognized Varadkar, who was Ireland’s first openly gay prime minister and served separate terms from 2017-2020 and again from 2022 until his resignation, for his work.

“The history books will record the incredible service he did for our country dealing with some of the biggest challenges of our time, most notably Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Harris said. “History will also record that he was a trailblazer as we broke free from the worst prejudices of the past, showing Ireland at its best to the world.”

Varadkar resigned after a trip to the White House to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with U.S. President Joe Biden.

“This government can be re-elected, and my party, Fine Gael, can gain seats in the next Dail,” Varadkar said then. “Most of all, I believe the re-election of this three-party government will be the right for the future of our country, continuing to take us forward, protecting all that’s been achieved and building on it.”

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