Saturday 20 January 2018

Macron, Trudeau and Varadkar - how they compare and contrast

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau

Newly elected Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has modelled himself on the leaders of France and Canada. But how do the three politicians compare and contrast?

They are among the youngest in their respective countries to hold the highest office. And all three have displayed an iconoclastic approach during their respective rises to the top.

Aged 39, Emmanuel Macron became France's youngest head of state since Napoleon. Mr Varadkar (38), meanwhile, will be elected Ireland's youngest Fine Gael Taoiseach since WT Cosgrave.

Justin Trudeau (45) was sworn in as Canada's second youngest prime minister. Both Mr Varadkar and Mr Trudeau are seen as being image-conscious, more so than Mr Macron.

Political views

Pictures of Mr Trudeau and Mr Macron sharing a walk together during the recent G7 summit sparked suggestions of a bromance. Only time will tell if the pair - and of course Mr Varadkar - share similar political views?

One area in which the two international politicians have agreed upon is the role of women in politics. Last month, Mr Macron announced that half of his cabinet would be women. Mr Trudeau implemented a similar policy in 2015. Mr Varadkar declined to make a similar commitment in the recent leadership campaign.

Read More: New leader's constituents overjoyed - but remind him not to forget his roots

All three are seen as being modern, fresh and progressive on social issues and have urged a move away from the traditional political outlook of left versus right.

Personal life

The media has shown a fascination with the personal lives of Mr Macron, Mr Trudeau and Mr Varadkar. The focus in particular has been on their respective partners.

Mr Macron's relationship with his wife Brigitte prompted reams of commentary during his route to the Elysée.

She is 24 years older than her husband, who describes his spouse as his key confidante.

She was also her husband's one time drama teacher. It has led to Mr Macron being given the nickname "chou-chou" - meaning teacher's pet - by sections of the French media.

Read More: The 'Tory Boy' whose ability to stay distance has seen him scale political mountain

The story behind Mr Trudeau's marriage to his wife Sophie, a former television host, is also steeped in romance. The prime minister previously asked her for her number but she refused, prompting him to track it down and bring her out on their first date. The couple have three children.

Mr Varadkar gave his most revealing interview to date recently in relation to his relationship with his boyfriend Dr Matthew Barrett. The couple have been going out for two years.

Mr Varadkar described him as a close confidante in his interview with the 'Sunday Independent'.

Irish Independent

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