Simon Harris formally named Irish Prime Minister

Henry

Simon Harris (37) will become Ireland’s youngest prime minister on Tuesday after the leadership race of the ruling Fine Gael party ended without any other candidates emerging to succeed Leo Varadkar.

Varadkar resigned suddenly last month, citing personal and political reasons for the decision. Harris was subsequently elected leader.

He undertook at a conference at the weekend to breathe new life into the party and return the party to core values ​​such as the promotion of business activities, farming and law and justice.

Varadkar, in his second term as prime minister, said during his resignation that he was no longer the “best person” to lead the country.

“Politicians are people. We have our limitations,” he said in Dublin last month, surrounded by his Fine Gael cabinet colleagues.

For Harris, this is the icing on the cake of a meteoric political rise.

He joined the youth branch of Fine Gael as a 16-year-old and at the age of 22 already formed part of the district council. In 2011, as a 24-year-old, he was elected to parliament. At that stage he was the youngest member of parliament.

In 2016 he was appointed minister of health and in 2020 the minister of higher education.

Harris’ prominence on social media, particularly TikTok, has made him one of the most visible politicians in Ireland.

Harris will now start working hard to steer his struggling party in the right direction as a key election looms.

Ireland votes for a local and European parliament on 7 June, while the next general election must be held by March next year.

Fine Gael slipped to third place in the last election in 2020, well behind Sinn Fein who attracted the most votes. Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the paramilitary IRA, is not part of the governing coalition and is still leading.