In a sudden move, Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has announced his resignation.

"I'm proud that we have made the country a more equal and more modern place. We managed to reduce the cost of living and enhance the country's international reputation. One part of leadership is knowing when the time has come to pass on the baton to somebody else, and then having the courage to do it," the head of government said.

He also announced that he is stepping down as the leader of the governing Fine Gael party but will remain in parliament as a backbench lawmaker. Varadkar admitted he made the difficult decision after "careful consideration and some soul-searching."

Varadkar, who has an Irish mother and an Indian father, was the country's youngest prime minister when first elected and the first openly gay holder of the office. During his tenure, the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit happened.

In early March, Irish citizens rejected his proposal to introduce amendments to the constitution regarding rewording the 1937 constitution in an attempt to change outdated references to family and women. The government's crushing defeat was a serious blow to the politician.

In November 2023, Leo Varadkar posted a statement on social media stating that Emily Hand, a nine-year-old girl who had returned from Hamas captivity, had initially "disappeared" and then "been found." This statement caused outrage in Israel.

Last November, Varadkar was criticized in Israel for his tweet in which he welcomed the release of Israeli-Irish hostage Emily Hand, saying "an innocent child who was lost has now been found." The tweet did not mention that the 9-year-old girl had been kidnapped and held hostage for 50 days in Gaza by Hamas terrorists.