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The reasons for the unexpected resignation of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar explained

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar resigned on Wednesday, March 20. At the same time, he refused the role of leader of the ruling Fine Gael party. The foreign press writes that these steps by Varadkar do not automatically lead the country on the Green Island to general elections.

Leo Varadkar announced the surprise move at a press conference in Dublin. His departure as head of the three-party coalition does not automatically lead to a general election, and the ex-premier is expected to be succeeded as chief minister by his successor as leader of Fine Gael. This place is currently vacant.

“One part of leadership is knowing when it’s time to pass the baton to someone else, and then having the courage to do it. That time has come now. “I therefore resign as President and Leader of Fine Gael effective today and will step down as Chairman as soon as my successor is able to take up the position,” Varadkar said.

He said his reasons were “both personal and political” and that the next prime minister would have two months to prepare for local and European elections in June, and up to a year in office before the next general election.

“I believe this government can be re-elected and I believe my party Fine Gael can win seats in the next parliament. Most of all, I believe that the re-election of this three-party government will be the right step for the future of our country, continuing to take us forward, protecting and building on all that has been achieved. But after careful consideration and some self-reflection, I believe that a new manager and a new leader will be better than me to achieve this goal – to refresh and strengthen the team, to focus our message on policy, to drive implementation. And after seven years in office, I no longer feel like the best person for this job,” Varadkar said to reporters.

Let us remember that the 45-year-old Irish politician served as Prime Minister of Eire twice: from 2017 to 2020 and again from December 2022.

Varadkar, whose mother is Irish and his father is Indian, was the country’s youngest president when he was first elected, as well as the first gay man to hold the office.

His departure may indeed be associated with a number of political failures. Not without reason, as he walked away from the gathered crowd of reporters, he was asked whether this month’s double constitutional referendum – a campaign widely seen as a failure – was the “last straw” that convinced Varadkar to end his premiership.

Varadkar has come under fire, The Guardian writes, over the government’s landslide defeat in a vote that proposed changing the wording of the 1937 constitution in an attempt to change outdated views on the family and women.

Critics of the initiative said it rushed the debate by trying to force a referendum on International Women’s Day. Voters ultimately rejected the family referendum by voting against it (67%) and buried another proposal regarding the social role of women by an even larger margin (74%).

Immediately after the vote results came in, Varadkar took some responsibility for the fiasco, saying: “There are a lot of people who got it wrong, and I’m certainly one of them.”

He was also accused of organizing incoherent messages. But before Wednesday’s resignation, many expected the political fallout from the referendum failure to be limited.

Varadkar captured the world’s attention when he took office in June 2017 at the age of 37. He did this not through a general election, but by replacing Enda Kenny, who stepped down as prime minister and leader of Fine Gael after winning elections in 2011 and 2016.

During his first term in office, he won praise for securing EU support for a mechanism to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland during Brexit negotiations with the UK.

Liberals also applauded Varadkar for his role in the 2018 referendum that legalized abortion. This was seen in Ireland as an important milestone in the country’s move away from a conservative Catholic society towards secularism and pluralism.

Varadkar said on Wednesday that his time as prime minister had been “the most fulfilling time of my life.” He said his leadership has made Eire a more equal and prosperous country. He also defended the government’s refugee policy, saying he was “deeply proud” that Ireland had accepted more than 100,000 Ukrainians.

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