Leo Varadkar’s boyfriend is ‘disappointed for Ireland’ after gay leader’s humiliating election defeat

Patrick Kelleher February 11, 2020
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Leo Varadkar Fine Gael general election

Leo Varadkar at the count centre in Dublin West (Donall Farmer/Getty)

Gay leader Leo Varadkar and his centre-right Fine Gael party have come in third place in the Irish general election behind Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.

Rival centre-right party Fianna Fáil came out with a narrow majority of 38 seats in the 160 seat Dáil. They are closely followed by left-wing Sinn Féin at 37, with Fine Gael lagging behind at 35.

Ireland’s political system has historically been dominated by the country’s two main political parties Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin’s unprecedented success will be seen as a clear mandate for change, with the party getting the majority of first-preference votes.

While Sinn Féin won the popular vote, they did not field enough candidates to win an outright majority. The party was not expected to make significant gains after a poor showing at last year’s local elections.

Leo Varadkar is essentially out of the running to continue as Taoiseach following general election losses.

The election result means that Varadkar is essentially out of the running to serve as Taoiseach in the 33rd Dáil. His party faced significant losses, with polls showing health and housing were the big issues for disillusioned voters.

Fine Gael’s defeat is also mirrored by Varadkar’s poor performance in his constituency. The party leader – who came out as gay in 2015 – was elected on the fifth count, making him the first outgoing Taoiseach since the foundation of the state who failed to top the poll in his constituency.

I’m not disappointed for Leo, I know he did a great job as a TD for Dublin but for the country, the election and the result, on the whole, I don’t know what will happen.

Varadkar’s partner Matthew Barrett said he was “disappointed for the country” following the election results, the Irish Independent reports.

“I’m not disappointed for Leo, I know he did a great job as a TD for Dublin but for the country, the election and the result, on the whole, I don’t know what will happen,” Barrett said.

Following Varadkar’s fifth count election, Barrett said: “We’ll be able to sleep more soundly tonight, but it’s been a very long day – for everyone here.

“Maybe (we’ll have) one drink and then bed and then we’ll see what will happen tomorrow.”

Fine Gael faced a significant drop-off in support, particularly from young voters.

There was a significant drop-off in support for Fine Gael among young voters, likely due to the country’s well-documented housing crisis which has resulted in shortages and high costs for renters and home buyers.

Ireland is often lauded for being one of a small number of countries to have had an openly gay leader, but at home, the outgoing Taoiseach has faced significant criticism from the LGBT+ community.

His election defeat now means that Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald are the most likely contenders to be Irish Taoiseach. If McDonald is successful, she would be the country’s first ever female Taoiseach.

More: fine gael, Gay, general election, Ireland, Leo Varadkar, LGBT, Taoiseach

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