Irish parliament appoints Simon Harris as new PM

Dublin, April 9 (UNI) Simon Harris was formally appointed as Ireland’s prime minister by the parliament on Tuesday, replacing Leo Varadkar, who resigned unexpectedly last month for “personal and political” reasons.

Harris, 37, has now become Ireland’s youngest-ever prime minister, or Taoiseach. The Fine Gael party leader will lead a coalition government in Dublin, along with Fianna Fail and the Green Party.

Speaking after his nomination was backed by 88 votes to 69, Harris said he intends to lead the government “in the spirit of unity, collaboration, and mutual respect.”

“I commit myself to doing everything that I can to honour the trust that you have placed in me today,” he said.

The new prime minister said housing was “the greatest societal and economic challenge of our generation,” underscoring his commitment to “moving mountains to help build more homes and drive more home ownership.”

He also pledged to build a country that “drives innovation and rewards creativity, acts decisively on the climate crisis, and values rural and regional development.”

Harris was previously minister for further and higher education before succeeding Varadkar as the Fine Gael party leader. He will assume office after a meeting with the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, Tuesday afternoon. He is also expected to announce a cabinet reshuffle later in the day.

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