Simon Harris Becomes Youngest Irish Prime Minister in History

( – Ireland’s former Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, shocked his constituents when he announced his resignation. It came on the heels of voters rejecting constitutional changes he championed and amid waning support for Fine Gael, Varadkar’s political party. When he took office, he became the youngest leader in the country, at just 38 years old. His successor, however, is even younger.

On Tuesday, April 9, Ireland’s parliament approved Simon Harris to serve as the country’s prime minister. He will now be the youngest ever to take the helm, at 37 years old. Harris is also very prominent on social media, which has garnered him the nickname “TikTok taoiseach,” the Irish language word for prime minister.

Harris’ election, in which he was the only candidate put forth as a replacement, received mixed reviews. Many cite that his support of the center-right governing coalition is an issue because it’s responsible for many of the problems Ireland faces now. That includes public service and housing problems. Harris is of the Fine Gael party, just like his predecessor, and holds Varadkar in high esteem.

The new prime minister is promised to bring “new ideas, energy” to the role, but that shouldn’t detract from the growing issues he will have to face. Currently, he will need to address Ireland’s strained healthcare system and the fact that many of his colleagues in the Fine Gael Party have said they will not run for re-election.

Harris plans to keep the three-party coalition, made up of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Green Party, until March 2025. At that point, he says, there needs to be an election. Yet, opposition parties are pushing for an even earlier election, saying that Ireland doesn’t need more of the same. Mary Lou McDonald, who leads Sinn Fein, a left-wing party, says the country “need[s] a change of leadership… a change of government.”

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