Indian-origin doctor and Ireland’s first openly gay minister has emerged as the frontrunner in the Irish prime ministerial race.

38-year-old Leo Varadkar, the Dublin-born son of a Mumbai-born father and Irish mother, is expected to become the country’s first homosexual prime minister.

Varadkar, who serves as Ireland’s welfare minister at the moment, has won early support for his leadership bid from several senior Cabinet members. He got another major boost when a majority of his parliamentary colleagues publicly backed him.

He announced his candidacy after Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced his resignation.

Kenny’s successor is due to be elected on June 2 and Ireland’s Parliament is set to vote in the new leader as prime minister a few days later.

Varadkar said he is “humbled at the level of support he has received from colleagues and is looking forward to the hustings and the debates”.

Varadkar came out as a gay in 2015 when Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage through popular vote.

The popular minister has campaigned on same-sex marriage and liberalising abortion laws.

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