- Longtime Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs has announced he will seek the presidency of the Baltic nation after incumbent Egils Levits declined to run for re-election.
- Rinkēvičs, a moderate conservative and staunch supporter of Ukraine, has held his current post since 2011.
- “My professional experience, expertise and education enable me to strengthen… the office of the president and unite Latvian society for a common goal – for Latvia to be a safe, internationally respected and sustainable country,” he said Rinkēvics.
The longtime and popular Latvian foreign minister, who is a staunch supporter of Ukraine, said on Thursday that he would stand as a candidate in the Baltic country’s presidential election later this month.
The surprise announcement by Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvia’s top diplomat since 2011, came a day after President Egils Levits said he would not seek re-election for another four years in the mostly ceremonial post.
“My professional experience, expertise and education enable me to strengthen… the office of the president and unite Latvian society for a common goal – for Latvia to be a safe, internationally respected and sustainable country,” he said Rinkēvičs in a note. .
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Saeima, the 100-seat Latvian parliament, will elect a new head of state in a vote on May 31 from a pool of candidates proposed by the parties.
Rinkēvičs’ New Unity party said Thursday it had unanimously backed the candidacy of the 49-year-old civil servant who held – among other posts – a high-ranking defense ministry official and worked as a journalist with Latvian Radio over the years. 90’s.
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The party, led by Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, said in a statement that “a firm stand on strengthening external and internal security, transatlantic ties, Western democracy and the Latvian language” were decisive issues leading to the decision. to support Rinkēvičs in the presidential race.
Furthermore, New Unity said that his “helping Ukraine and uniting the international community against Russian aggression in Ukraine” was a great credit to Rinkēvičs in the 1.9 million-strong Baltic country which is close to Russia and has a considerable ethnic-Russian minority.
It was considered almost certain that Levits, president of Latvia since 2019, would seek re-election. But on Wednesday he announced he was disappointed that the parties in Karins’ coalition government were unable to agree on a common candidate and said he would not run in such a situation.
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Latvia’s presidency is largely a ceremonial office, and the head of state acts primarily as an opinion leader and unifying figure in the country where nearly a third of residents speak Russian. The head of state represents Latvia abroad, serves as the supreme commander of the armed forces, and can veto laws, among other things.