Edgars Rinkeviczs was elected the new president of Latvia. The country’s long-time foreign minister was supported in the third round of voting by 52 deputies of the Latvian parliament. The politician announced that during his term of office, support for the struggling Ukraine would be maintained, and Latvia would remain on a western course.
Edgars Rinkeviczs won Wednesday’s vote over businessman Uldis Pilens and activist for the Latvian diaspora Elina Pinto.
To win, a candidate had to win at least 51 votes in the 100-member Sejm.
87 deputies took part in the third round of voting. 10 MPs voted against all the candidates, while Pilens was supported by 25 MPs. Pinto was eliminated in the second round of voting.
President elected for four years Latvia performs representative functions and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, can submit bills, ratify international agreements, as well as e.g. nominate a prime minister.
Inauguration in July. “I will do everything to make our country flourish”
I will do everything to make our country flourish and our society united. I am ready to cooperate with the Saeima (parliament of the Republic of Latvia) and the government, Rinkeviczs said after the announcement of the voting results. The inauguration will take place on July 8.
At a press conference, he announced that support for the combatant would be maintained during his term of office Ukraine, and Latvia will stay on a western course. He assured that his presidency would not involve “surprises” in terms of the country’s foreign policy. – Support for Ukraine, a very strong policy on Russian aggression, active participation in the EU and FOR THISwhich are the pillars of Latvian foreign policy – said the politician.
Outgoing President Egils Levits expressed his conviction that Latvia would be in good hands for the next four years and wished Rinkeviczs good luck. Levits himself confirmed in April that he would seek re-election, and in May withdrew his candidacy due to the lack of unanimity on this issue in the ruling coalition.
Edgars Rinkeviczs – who is he?
Rinkeviczs, who has been the head of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2011, was put forward by the New Unity political group. Rinkeviczs, 49, is the longest-serving foreign minister in Latvian history.
In the early 1990s, he worked as a journalist at the Latvian Radio, later began his career at the Ministry of Defence. He participated in negotiations on Latvian integration with NATO. In 2014, Rinkeviczs announced that he was homosexual.
As was evident from poll conducted by the public opinion research center SKDS, more than one third of the society did not support any of the candidates. Rinkeviczs and Pilens enjoyed comparable support among the respondents (about 20 percent), while Pinto was supported by about 10 percent. study participants.
Zelensky: sincere congratulations to a true friend of Ukraine
Rinkeviczs was congratulated by the president of Ukraine on social media Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Sincere congratulations to a true friend of Ukraine Edgars Rinkeviczs on his election as President of Latvia,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. He expressed hope for the continuation of bilateral cooperation for the benefit of both nations, for the common victory of the values of freedom and democracy and peace for Ukraine and Europe.
Zelensky also thanked the outgoing President of Latvia, Egils Levits, for supporting Ukraine in the face of full-scale Russian aggression. “I appreciate your courageous visits to our country during the war, your persistent efforts to consolidate the world community in order to hold the aggressor accountable, and your effective support for Ukraine’s membership in the EU and NATO,” added the Ukrainian president.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/TOMS KALNINS