Bye Bye Leo? Ireland’s Left-Wing PM Faces Defeat in Upcoming Election

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar looks on during a press conference during an European Union Summit at European Union Headquarters in Brussels on October 17, 2019. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP) (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Ireland’s Europhile prime minister is facing defeat as his party trails in the polls ahead of the election on Saturday.

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s left-wing 41-year-old prime minister (Taoiseach), and leader of the Fine Gael party, has seen his party’s lead in the polls dwindle over the past weeks, falling to third place behind the centre-right Fianna Fáil party and the IRA-linked Sinn Féin party.

Currently, Vandakar’s party has 21 per cent support in the polls compared to that of Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin which are tied with 24 per cent support, according to The Irish Times.

Mr Varadkar, who has been described as a “low-rent Justin Trudeau” by Breitbart News’s James Delingpole, has overseen a massive bungling of the construction of the National Children’s Hospital, which has faced three years of delays and is now expected to cost the Irish taxpayer 2.4 billion euros, six times more than the original estimate.

Healthcare has become a major issue in the Irish Republic’s upcoming election, with over 553,000 people waiting for outpatient appointments in December, up more than 37,000 over the previous year, reports the BBC.

The prime minister said that despite the latest polls, he believes his party will “emerge as the largest party” after the election; however, he told The Journal, that should his party lose he intends on remaining the head of Fine Gael and the leader of the opposition.

Mr Varadkar, who became Ireland’s youngest and first openly gay leader in 2017, has been a frequent critic of the pro-sovereignty Brexit movement in the United Kingdom, saying that Ireland is “on team EU”.

In January, the Irish Taoiseach said that the United Kingdom should “come to terms” with the idea that it is “now a small country” after leaving the European Union.

“The UK, it’s about 60 (million). So if these were two teams up against each other playing football, who do you think has the stronger team?” he said.

There has been conjecture within Ireland that should he lose, Varadkar could take up a position within the European Commission, rather than becoming the leader of the opposition, a claim which the prime minister denies.

“I have not ever been offered any of these wonderful jobs in Europe that people speculate about, I don’t think any of them are available until 2024 anyway,” he said.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka


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