Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar set be re-elected Irish PM under rotation deal

DUBLIN, Dec 17 — Leo Varadkar was set to be elected Irish prime minister for the second time on Saturday, taking over from Micheál Martin under a novel rotation agreement struck between their two parties — once sworn rivals — in a 2020 coalition deal.

Martin resigned on Saturday ahead of a vote in parliament to elect Varadkar, who was prime minister from 2017 to 2020. Martin will become deputy prime minister until a scheduled 2025 election and is also expected to be appointed foreign minister.

The 2020 coalition deal – which also included the smaller Green Party – for the first time united Martin’s Fianna Fail and Varadkar’s Fine Gael, which are Ireland’s dominant centre-right parties and have led every government since independence a century ago.

“This morning I visited the president and, pursuant to the relevant provisions of Bunreacht na hÉireann (Constitution of Ireland), I have tendered my resignation from the office of Taoiseach (prime minister),” Martin told parliament.

“It is both a privilege and a responsibility to serve as head of government in a free and democratic republic. I have been deeply conscious of this every day I have held the office of Taoiseach.”

Varadkar will again face a years-long housing crisis that cost him a full second term in office and has made the left wing Sinn Fein clear favourite to come out on top at the next election with a consistently wide lead in opinion polls. — Reuters

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