Simon Harris to be Ireland’s youngest PM

Simon Harris is poised to become Ireland’s youngest prime minister following the conclusion of the leadership race within his Fine Gael party, as no other candidates stepped forward. The vacancy arose when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar unexpectedly announced his resignation last week, citing personal and political reasons.

Harris, aged 37 and currently serving as the Minister for Higher Education, emerged as the sole candidate as nominations closed on Sunday at 1 pm. However, he will officially assume the role of Taoiseach on April 9th, when the Irish parliament, the Dáil, reconvenes after the Easter break.

During a selection convention in Athlone, County Westmeath, to nominate party candidates for the European parliament elections in June, Harris outlined his leadership priorities. He emphasized a return to Fine Gael’s core values, including prioritizing employment, maintaining law and order, and supporting the agricultural sector.

Expressing gratitude for his election as leader, Harris rallied party members with a call to action, receiving a standing ovation. Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys, expected to be named as deputy leader, hails from a rural border constituency.

While Harris has not hinted at potential changes in ministerial positions within Fine Gael, there is speculation that non-election candidates may be replaced. Simon Coveney is widely rumored to be among those affected by the reshuffle.

Varadkar’s resignation followed the government’s failure in recent referendums to amend references to women and the family in the constitution. Harris, known for his adept communication skills, particularly on social media, has held various ministerial roles, including health during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite widespread acclaim for his crisis management, Harris faced criticism for inaccurately stating in a radio interview that there were 18 other coronaviruses before Covid-19, which he later termed as an “awful boo-boo.”

Until Varadkar’s resignation, expectations pointed towards a general election in October after a budgetary allocation in September. However, leaders of Fianna Fáil and the Greens advocate for the government to complete its remaining 12-month term.

Although trailing Sinn Féin in polls, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are navigating a fluid political landscape. Sinn Féin, formerly the political wing of the IRA, holds the largest share in the Northern Ireland assembly.

Following a decline in support for all three parties after the referendums, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has called for an immediate election. However, Harris is unlikely to accede to her request, instead focusing on revitalizing his party and addressing voter concerns, including housing.

Latest articles

US: 40% of people exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution

According to a recent report by the American Lung Association, nearly 40% of people in the US are exposed to unhealthy levels of air...

Profits dip, Tesla comes up with new models

Tesla's profits have significantly declined this year, prompting the company to accelerate the release of new models and cut thousands of jobs in an...

Greece: Athens covered with orange Sahara dust haze

An intense orange haze has enveloped Athens, creating a surreal landscape as vast clouds of Sahara Desert dust have drifted over the city. This...

Argentina: People protest against cuts to public universities

Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, on Tuesday, to protest and for voicing their opposition...

Related articles