Latvian Parliament elects new president

Raimonds Vejonis (AFP/Scanpix)
6/3/2015 6:50 PM
Category: International

The Latvian Parliament has elected current Defense Minister and Union of Greens and Farmers Chairman Raimonds Vējonis as the country's next president, after five rounds of voting on Wednesday.

“I will do my best to contribute the work I have been doing to increase Latvia's security and promote the welfare of the country as a whole,” Vējonis said after the final vote, LSM reported.

"I will do all I can so that we, the Latvian people, the political parties and parliament act together as a team, so the decisions we make lead to a more prosperous Latvia. It is an honor for me to serve Latvia," he said.

The day began with four candidates in the race for presidency, the current President Andris Berzins not among them. Vējonis's main rival was Eglis Levits, a former justice minister and member of the European Court of Justice.

Vējonis won 34 votes in the 100-member Latvian Parliament in the first round, while Levits had the support of 24 MPs. The second round brought little change as Levits picked up one extra vote and Vējonis stayed on 34. The third round, now with only three candidates in the race, also failed to shake things up with Vejonis winning 35, Levits 26 votes.

The forth round between Vējonis and Levits saw the former pull away with 46 votes to Levits' 26. Vējonis was the lone candidate in the fifth round, needing 51 votes to be named president. He received 55 votes. The vote was anonymous.

For more details on how the vote panned out, read the English-language version of Public Broadcasting of Latvia here.

Vējonis, who will turn 49 in two weeks, was the country's environment minister between 2002-2011.

J.M. Laats

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