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Simon Harris Becomes Ireland's Youngest-Ever Prime Minister

07:59 AM Apr 10, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
simon harris  becomes ireland s youngest ever prime minister
Simon Harris Becomes Ireland's Youngest-Ever Prime Minister

Dublin [Ireland]: Simon Harris, the youngest prime minister in Irish history, was chosen by the parliament on Monday to take over from Leo Varadkar, who stepped down unexpectedly last month, Al Jazeera reported.

Harris's nomination was approved 88-69, having won the backing of the Green Party and Fianna Fail, two of his coalition's allies.

Days after former PM Varadkar's shocking resignation, the 37-year-old former minister of health and higher education--best known for guiding Ireland's early response to the Covid-19 pandemic--was elected head of the center-right Fine Gael party last month without facing any opposition.

"I do accept this nomination to serve as taoiseach [prime minister]," Harris said, according to Al Jazeera.

"I commit to doing everything that I can to honour the trust that you have placed in me," he added.

Recognising the coalition partners in his new administration who backed his candidature, Harris stated that he plans to lead "in the spirit of unity, collaboration, and mutual respect."

At a party conference over the weekend, Harris vowed to revitalise and 'reset' his party, directing it back towards 'core values' such as advancing law and order, business, and agriculture, reported Al Jazeera.

Harris, at sixteen, joined Fine Gael's youth branch and advanced through the ranks fast.
He was elected to parliament in 2011 at the age of 24, having served as a county councillor at the age of 22. He was dubbed "Baby of the Dail" (the Irish parliament) since he was the youngest member at the time.

At 29, he was appointed minister of health in 2016 and minister of higher education in 2020.

Although he has spent most of his adult life in parliament, Harris has cast himself as an "accidental politician," as reported by Al Jazeera. Prior to Harris, Leo Varadkar was the country's youngest-ever leader when first elected at age 38, as well as Ireland's first openly gay prime minister.

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