Leo Eric Varadkar announced on Wednesday that he is soon resigning as prime minister of Ireland. 

At a press conference, Varadkar said he is resigning as president of the Fine Gael Party effective on Wednesday. 

He said he will also step down from the prime minister role, known as Taoiseach, once a new leader is ready to take the role. He called for a special election to take place on April 16. 

Varadkar has served as Taoiseach since December 2022, and previously from 2017 to 2020. 

Varadkar recently was in Washington, D.C., and visited the White House to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with President Biden. 

Biden played host to Varadkar at the White House and then the two attended a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol as the two countries celebrated a century of diplomatic relations. 

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House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., hosted the president and Varadkar for the annual “Friends of Ireland Luncheon” at the Capitol. Johnson introduced the president as “America’s most famous Irishman.” Biden used the event to push for foreign aid to support Ukraine as it fights against Russia and Israel as well as provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.

Varadkar used his remarks at the luncheon to thank the United States for its work to bring peace between Ireland and Northern Ireland — part of the United Kingdom — with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. But he turned to the war in Ukraine, as the House has stalled in passing additional U.S. aid for the country. 

“Ukraine must not fall and together, we need to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Varadkar said. “We look forward to working with America for the next 100 years.”

“Mr. President, as you know, the Irish people are deeply troubled about the catastrophe that’s unfolding before our eyes in Gaza, and when I travel the world, leaders often ask me why the Irish people have such empathy for the Palestinian people,” Varadkar added, according to the New York Times. “The answer is simple: We see our history in their eyes.”

“The people of Gaza desperately need food, medicine and shelter, and most especially they need the bombs to stop,” the Irish prime minister added, referencing the Israel-Hamas war. “This has to stop on both sides, the hostages brought home and humanitarian relief allowed in.”

Biden often references his Irish heritage, as well as his home state of Delaware and his birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He often quotes the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, among others, and has delivered Irish toasts before formal dinners. He has routinely brought up Ireland with leaders from other foreign countries. 

Last year, Biden spoke at a pub while visiting Ireland, reveling in the chance to be there.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.