An openly gay candidate is considered the frontrunner to replace Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on June 2.

Leo Varadkar, the son of an Indian father and Irish mother, is the leading contender to replace Kenny as party leader and Taoiseach, or prime minister.

If elected, Varadkar, currently the minister of social protection, would become Ireland's first openly gay and ethnic minority prime minister, and the youngest at 38.

Varadkar came out gay two years ago as Ireland debated a nationwide referendum on whether to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. Sixty-two percent of voters approved the measure.

Belgium and Iceland have had openly gay heads of state, while Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in 2015 became the first European Union leader to marry a person of the same sex while in office.