Profile: Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar
At 41, Leo Varadkar is Ireland’s youngest ever Taoiseach.
Born in Castleknock in 1979, he is the son of an Irish nurse and an Indian doctor.
He joined the centre right youth wing of the Fine Gael party while studying medicine at Trinity College Dublin.
At the age of seven, he announced he wanted to become the Minister for Health when he grew up.
“My mum wanted me to be a doctor like my dad, and at 7, I really wanted to be a politician, and I managed in my mind to combine the two,” he once said in an interview.
He became a local councillor in Dublin West in 2004, scoring the highest vote in the country – and in 2007 he won a seat in the Irish parliament at 28 while still working as a trainee doctor.
He became a rising star in the party and was known for his outspoken style and became minister for transport, social protection health and eventually Taoiseach in June 2016.
He came out as gay during a radio interview and would be campaigning in support of same-sex marriage referendum in 2015, some 22 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in the Republic.
He has been in a long-term relationship with doctor Matthew Barrett, but recently said he has no plans to marry.
While his election as Taoiseach was feted as Ireland’s transition from a conservative Catholic country to an outward looking socially liberal one, Mr Varadkar’s own political views are conservative.
While social protection minister, he launched a campaign on welfare cheats, advocates free markets and only made known his pro-choice views on abortion in the run-up to the historic referendum in 2018.
His slogan throughout the campaign is that he wants to be a voice “for people who get up early in the morning”.
A keen fitness fan, one of his first meetings as Taoiseach was with Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau – instead of the customary pint usually served to visiting dignitaries, they went for a run together in the Phoenix Park.
Mr Varadkar’s Fine Gael party was in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Fianna Fail party and a number of independents.
The minority government were tasked with pulling Ireland out of the recession and have been beleaguered by a housing crisis, homelessness and a creaking healthcare system.
Maintaining a good relationship with the British Government and Brussels following Brexit and preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland have been among the highlights of his tenure.
Opponents say he has a weakness for spin, setting up the Government strategic communications unit and having a more active social media presence than previous leaders.
His party has sought to make Brexit a key part of their re-election strategy which has fallen flat with voters and seen them drop consistently in the opinion polls as voters were more concerned with housing and health.
Mr Varadkar has said he will remain on as leader of Fine Gael if he does not remain Taoiseach after the election.